Apparently Nori Aoki believes in the mantra "If you can't beat 'em, join em".
The Japanese-born outfielder signed a one-year contract with the San Francisco Giants today, as CBS Sports' Jon Heyman reported. Aoki was apparently offered better deals elsewhere, but was drawn to the Giants because of their location and their status as immediate playoff contenders. Aoki no doubt witnessed that firsthand after losing to the Giants in the 2014 World Series as a member of the Kansas City Royals. Heyman also reports that Aoki's contract includes a $4 million salary for 2015 plus an option for 2016.
Aoki has drawn comparisons to fellow countryman and former AL MVP Ichiro Suzuki due to their similar playing style. He was a member of Japan's 2006 and 2009 World Baseball Classic teams, both of which won the Classic. He also played for Japan in the 2008 Bejing Olympics. He first joined Major League Baseball in 2012, playing for the Milwaukee Brewers for two seasons. In his MLB rookie year, he set the Brewers rookie record for most doubles in a season (37) and tied their franchise record for most stolen bases in a game (4) Before that, he played for the Japanese pro team Tokyo Yakult Swallows, becoming one of only four players in Japanese pro baseball to get over 200 hits in a single season.
The Giants will probably transfer Aoki to left field from his usual spot in right field. The position was a problem for the Giants down the stretch in 2014, as Travis Ishikawa was moved there from his natural spot at first base late in September. Although Ishikawa provided some clutch hits in October, his shaky defensive play during the World Series caused manager Bruce Bochy to bench him in the decisive Game 7. Aoki, who helped the Royals lead the league in defense last year, should be able to provide the Giants with a long-term solution at the position in 2015.
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Jake Wesley is now the only writer for MLB_NL_AL.com all of these articles are ether based on facts and pieces of his opinion.