The Tokyo Yakult Swallows of Japan’s Central League have informed Major League Baseball that they have accepted the highest bid for the negotiating rights to 29-year-old outfielder Norichika Aoki. The highest bid in the posting process was submitted by the Milwaukee Brewers.
The Brewers now have a period of 30 consecutive days to sign Aoki to a Major or Minor League professional contract.
In 2010, Aoki led the league with both a .358 average and a career-high 209 hits.
Over eight seasons, Aoki has twice led the league in batting average, hits and on-base percentage while playing mostly center field for the Swallows. But reports say his throwing arm probably isn’t strong enough to play center in the Major Leagues, which would make him more of a candidate for left field.
The Brewers may be in need of help in left field if Ryan Braun ends up getting suspended for 50-games to start the season.