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MLB Free Agency Rumors: Norichika Aoki Brings Batting Average, Mystery To MLB Market

For some teams seeking an x-factor of sorts to help solve their outfield woes, the Yakult Swallows are reportedly posting Norichika Aoki today for bid for the MLB market. That's good news for a team needing a contact hitter with gap power who is still only 29-years-old.

SB Nation's Grant Bisbee writes, "Aoki is a switch-hitter, whose value is usually tied to his batting average. But while he hit only four home runs last year, he has hit twenty in a season before. His career slash line before 2011 was .336/.411/.472. It's also worth nothing that he's won the equivalent of the NPB Gold Glove from 2006-2010. No word if there's a complementary Japanese Rafael Palmeiro who makes a mockery of that system too."

The posting system means that a team will have to win overall bid to the Yakult Swallow to win his "rights," and from there they can work with the player and his agent to negotiate a contract. It's double trouble for teams with limited budgets which is why someone like the Royals will likely not be interested out of financial reasons, but it can become worth it -- ask Seattle what Ichiro has meant to the franchise.