While pitcher Yu Darvish may end up being the biggest name posted by a Japanese club this offseason, Norichika Aoki may also garner some attention from big-league clubs looking to add an outfielder.
The Yakult Swallows of Japan's Central League have filed the necessary paperwork to post the talented center fielder, according to Fox Sports' Jon Morosi.
The 29-year-old Aoki is reportedly considered a plus defender with excellent speed. He's a career .329 hitter, a seven-time All-Star, a six-time Golden Glove winner and a three-time batting champion. He was even named to the 2009 World Baseball Classic All-Tournament Team, hitting .324 (12-for-37) with seven RBIs while playing all nine games during Japan's championship repeat.
In 2011, Aoki's home runs, RBIs, batting average and stolen bases totals dipped to career lows, but he did have a career-high .358 average and 209 hits in 2010. He is one of only four players to amass 200 or more hits in a single season in Japanese professional baseball.
It's unclear which teams may be interested in the outfielder's services for 2012, but The Washington Post's Adam Kilgore reported last week that the Nationals could turn to him if their other plans don't come to fruition.