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MLB Rumors: Aoki, Okajima, Pinto, Whitesell

NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 25:  Hideki Okajima #37 of the Boston Red Sox pitches against the New York Yankees during their game on September 25 2010 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City.  (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)
NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 25: Hideki Okajima #37 of the Boston Red Sox pitches against the New York Yankees during their game on September 25 2010 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)
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All 30 MLB teams have been spending the winter prepping for next season, but they're not alone. There are numerous Japanese teams being active on the free agent market as well, as outlined by Patrick Newman of NPB Tracker. We've heard about the possibility of free agent starter Hiroki Kuroda leaving the U.S. to return to Japan with Yu Darvish going in the other direction, but they're not alone. Here are some of the key tidbits from Japan of late:

  • Newman refers readers to a Sanspo report stating that the Milwaukee Brewers plan on offering outfielder Norichika Aoki a deal worth roughly $1 million to $1.5 million. Milwaukee won the rights to negotiate with Aoki through the posting system when the Yakult Swallows accepted the Brewers' $2.5 million claim.
  • Sponichi is reporting that the New York Yankees are working on a minor league deal for Hideki Okajima, while the Softbank Hawks are trying to lure lefty Renyel Pinto to Japan, according to Newman.
  • One player originally from the U.S. has decided to stick around in Japan, though, as Newman reports via Sponichi that the Chiba Lotte Marines have signed first baseman Josh Whitesell. Whitesell spent the past two seasons playing for the Yakult Swallows.