After a 2012 season full of gallant performances, the Oakland Athletics officially introduced their newest hero during a press conference at the O.co coliseum tuesday afternoon.
“Hello Oakland, my name is Hiroyuki Nakajima,” the Japanese veteran shortstop stated in English, “But you can call me Hiro.”
Nakajima was smiling ear to ear from the moment he sat down next to the A’s GM, joking that the main reason he signed with Oakland was because “Billy Beane is extremely sexy and cool.”
Charisma and sense of humor were displayed by the new A’s shortstop throughout the entire press conference, a trait that should easily assimilate Nakajima onto a team full of personality.
“I wanted to come to Oakland because they are young and energetic,” Nakajima said of his decision to sign with the A’s. “I heard a lot about team chemistry, and am fascinated and excited to be a part of that.”
Oakland will welcome the free agent to fill in one of their seemingly only positional roster holes at shortstop.
During 11 seasons spent playing for Seibu in Japan, Nakajima hit .302 with 162 home runs and 738 RBI in 1225 games. The eight-time all-star also stole 141 bases and won three gold gloves, solidifying his five tool skill set.
“I will do the best for my team, but also I want to do the ‘Bernie Dance’ with Oakland,” Nakajima said in English to end the press conference with laughter, smiles and even a mini ‘Bernie lean.’
If Nakajima can emulate his 2012 season numbers of .311 avg/13 HR/74RBI, it will mark another successful international signing by Billy Beane, the 2012 Major League Baseball executive of the year.
Nakajima and Oakland agreed on a contract for two years through the 2014 season with a club option for 2015. The financial terms of the deal were not immediately available.
To make room on the 40 man roster Oakland traded outfielder Collin Cowgill to the New York Mets in exchange for minor league third baseman Jefry Marte.