Norichika Aoki Could Be Your 5th Brewers Outfielder
By Lou Olsen
Today it was re-confirmed, that the Brewers will be working out Japanese outfielder Norichika Aoki this upcoming weekend. The plan is to watch the guy do his thing at Maryvale’s Park and facility. It is a pretty sweet deal for Aoki, free weekend in Phoenix, play a little ball, maybe enjoy some Tex-Mex. I have never been to Phoenix obviously, so I am not sure what there is to do during one’s leisure time. Still not sure what is in it for the Brewers. Well, I guess there is only one thing I can do…speculate wildly and watch tons of videos on Mr. Aoki. Done and done.
Aoki is a pretty terrific baseball player…if you had not already heard that. Today I took some time to watch a few videos of him batting and fielding. Turns out he is really just some strange cross-breed of Ichiro and Hideki Matsui, but with a much stranger leg kick. This is the best video I could find of the guy. It is all in Japanese, so enjoy it:
Now, I watched a lot of video of this guy. The biggest thing I see in his swing is that freaking leg kick. How can you miss it? That is probably going to get him beaned in the knee alot next season. But he’ll be fine, he has his own theme song for dog’s sake. I made that discovery by watching several hours of Japanese baseball. Truth be told, I kind of enjoyed it…ok, I really enjoyed it. Not sure how it goes though, because it seems to change every time. One time I could have sworn it was just the Indiana Jones theme song with his name plugged in.
Another thing that I found odd, there is almost no video of this guy in the field. So, I really have no insight for anyone on that front. Sorry, the guy has a great career fielding percentage and that is all I know.
Look, it never hurts to have a solid left-handed bat on your roster. A batter who hits for contact on a team that hits for power, sounds like a pretty good idea. My only problem is, I do not really know where they plan on playing him. Why would you even take the time to post the $2.5 million dollars, if the guy is not even going to start? What are you going to do with 5 legitimate starting outfielders? I have a few theories…
1) The Brewers organization must know something we don’t. Maybe they already know that Braun is out for 50 games, so they are going to go out and get this cat to fill in. Carlos Gomez will be on the roster for the first 50 games, but when Braun comes back he would probably see a lot less playing time. Eventually the Brewers would either cut or trade him.
2) The Brewers plan to trade either Nyjer Morgan or Carlos Gomez, before the season starts, for bullpen depth. This is the one that I am secretly hoping for. Their is still plenty of time to wheel and deal, maybe the Brewers have something tentative in place already. It is hard to know what goes on behind closed doors. And since K-Rod screwed the franchise by accepting his franchise tag, we are a little thin on bullpen but stocked full of outfielders.
3) Fear. The Brewers thought someone else in the division was going to get this guy, they saw something they liked, and made a quick decision (which I would assume was prior to the K-Rod incident). Sometimes in baseball GM’s will make preventative moves, moves that help their team and hurt another.
4) They made a mistake and thought he was a pitcher. This could happen to anyone. I did not say it….but it is implied (wink).
5) Aoki is the future center fielder of this team. Morgan and Gomez could both be gone in the near future. The Brewers could be looking at the longevity of Matsui and Ichiro and hoping to get another 8-10 years out of Aoki. If that is the case, I call this a pretty good investment.
I think that there is never anything wrong with adding talent and making your team stronger. However, if the talent is not allowed enough opportunities to show itself…it shrivels and dies. Just look at how Mark Kotsay‘s career turned out. Got you Kotsay!! I don’t even care that you are in San Diego, I still plan on ripping you.
Bottom line: I like the concept of all this, but I don’t understand the actuality. It’s like when you see a movie preview and the movie looks really funny. Then you go see the movie, and all of the funny parts where in the GD trailer. That is how I feel about this. Take that for what it is worth.