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Friday, January 28, 2005

Dodgers Interested in Norihiro Nakamura 3B

In a move sure to fuel more cries of "why didn't they resign Beltre?" the Dodgers may bid for the services of Norihiro Nakamura, third baseman for the Orix Buffaloes of the Japanese leagues, according to the Los Angeles Times. Nakamura, a 13-year veteran of the Pacific League, hit .274/.390/.468 in 387 AB, but "scouts say he is projected as an average major league third baseman at best." A workout in Santa Ana attracted "modest" interest. A January 29 story in the Daily Yomiuri indicates the Dodgers wish to sign Nakamura to a minor league contract, and Los Angeles -- and any other suitors -- have four days in which to sign him.

Nakamura's player page at japanesebaseball.com is here.

Update: Here's an old article at Baseball Prospectus talking about Japanese league translations that mentions Nakamura, noting he's one of the league's best power hitters. Finally, here's a three-year-old Clay Davenport article about translating Japanese League stats to MLB; he figures Japanese league EqA's to be about .948 of MLB, so guestimating, that makes him good for just under two wins or so by VORP. Also, take a gander at this December 4, 2004 post from Mariner Musings. White observes that "[s]ome team could get a real bargain with acceptable risk by signing him."

Nakamura also attended spring training with the Dodgers in 2004, something I had forgotten.


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