Not having any luck trading outfielder Justin Upton for young infield help up the middle, the Arizona Diamondbacks have significantly broadened their search for a new shortstop. The D'Backs have begun negotiations with international free-agent Hiroyuki Nakajima, an 11-year veteran of Japan's NPB league, per Patrick Newman of NPB Tracker.
The 30-year-old Nakajima should sound familiar to Yankees fans. New York won the bidding rights to the veteran shortstop last fall (with a $2 million bid) after he was posted by his club, the Seibu Lions, but the Yankees were unable to reach to an agreement with him. Nakajima returned to the Lions on a $3.64 million contract for the 2012 season, hitting an impressive .311/.382/.451 with 13 home runs in 136 games. Those numbers are even more impressive when you note that the NPB has been an extreme pitchers' league since introducing a new ball before the 2011 season.
Arizona does have an in-house option at shortstop for next season -- the club acquired shortstop Cliff Pennington from the Oakland A's in return for outfielder Chris Young last month -- but their talks with Nakajima and attempts to exchange Upton for the Rangers' young shortstop duo indicate the club is not content with their current situation at short.
Nakajima is a career .302/.367/.475 hitter with 162 home runs and 141 stolen bases in 11 seasons.