Source: Japanese infielder Tsuyoshi Nishioka interested in playing for the Dodgers
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Another Japanese player could be on his way to Los Angeles.
Middle infielder Tsuyoshi Nishioka is likely to be made available to major league clubs by the Chiba Lotte Marines in the near future and the Dodgers are his preferred landing spot, according to a baseball source close to him who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the situation.
Nishioka wants to play on the West Coast and is also interested in playing for the San Francisco Giants, San Diego Padres and Arizona Diamondbacks, the source said.
The Dodgers are known to have scouted Nishioka, a 26-year-old switch-hitting shortstop who led Japan’s Pacific League in hitting this year with a .346 average. In the majors, Nishioka could be moved to second base, a position he played at the 2006 World Baseball Classic.
The Dodgers could use depth in the middle of their infield. Shortstop Rafael Furcal has a history of back problems and second baseman Ryan Theriot might not be tendered a contract.
It’s unknown whether the Dodgers have the necessary financial resources to land Nishioka.
If Nishioka is “posted” by the Marines, as multiple sources expect him to be, Major League Baseball will hold a four-day silent auction during which teams can submit sealed bids to win exclusive negotiating rights with him. The team with the winning bid will have a 30-day window to agree on a contract with the player. If a deal is reached, the Marines will receive the posting fee in exchange for him.
This week the Oakland A’s won the right to negotiate with Japanese pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma by submitting a posting bid of about $17 million, according to published reports. The Marines would let Nishioka go to the U.S. even if his posting fee is considerably less than that, one source said.
Nishioka has chosen the Beverly Hills Sports Council to represent him if he moves to the majors.
-- Dylan Hernandez