Back in the middle of December, the Milwaukee Brewers submitted a posting bid of $2.5 million to negotiate with Japanese outfielder Norichika Aoki. This turned out to be the high bid, since not every player coming over from Japan drives front offices crazy. So the Brewers won the right to negotiate, and began negotiating.
Things really turned when the Brewers held a workout for Aoki a little over a week ago. They observed him, they liked him, and Tuesday they signed him. Terms aren't yet available, but the Brewers have given Aoki a two-year contract, with a 2014 option. One can expect that Aoki's salary will be pretty low.
Aoki is freshly 30 years old. He's a left-handed batter and a right-handed thrower. This table of statistics kind of tells the story:
Aoki was awesome. Had he been posted a year ago, he might have drawn way more attention. But he wasn't posted a year ago. He was posted this year, after a down season that saw his home runs drop to four. Offense in the Japanese leagues was hard to come by in 2011, so there's the context to keep in mind, but Aoki's stock is lower than it's been.
He's worth a shot, though. Aoki joins a crowded outfield that already has Ryan Braun, Carlos Gomez, Corey Hart and Nyjer Morgan, but Braun could miss the first 50 games of the season and Gomez isn't good, so Aoki probably won't grow roots on the bench.