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Clarifying Norichika Aoki's Contract: Brewers do not own his rights after his contract is done

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Contrary to what most people believed, once Norichika Aoki's current contract is done, he will be a free agent and not in arbitration years.

Joe Robbins

One of the most interesting players that has generated trade possibility discussion this season has been Norichika Aoki. With Aoki in the second year of a two-year deal, with an option that will almost definitely be exercised, he has a very team-friendly contract. Plus, he has three years of arbitration after that, right? Not so fast there.

Adam McCalvy got some clarifying information on Aoki's contract today. Previously, it was believed that the language in the contract did not call for Aoki to be released on the completion of his deal. Under that scenario, the Brewers would have owned Aoki's rights through his arbitration years. However, his agent Nez Balelo and Brewers assistant GM Gord Ash checked the language of the contract today. The contract calls for Aoki to be released at the end of the contract, whether that is at the end of this year or after the option year.

This makes the discussion around Norichika Aoki and what to do with him more interesting. His deal is still team-friendly (especially with the salary), but he may not be around past next season. Plus, the Brewers do have some strong outfielders coming up through the system, and Aoki will be 32 at the end of next season. How will this change the Brewers plans for him?