What is your opinion of the A.J. Pierzynski signing?
MJH on accountability
Yup, it seems the NPB is not happy about his decision.
"There are no rules preventing a major league team from negotiating with Otani as well, but M.L.B. has a gentlemen’s agreement with Nippon Professional Baseball to stand aside during the exclusive negotiating period."
It'll be interesting to see if MLB says "Look guys, he said not to draft him and you did anyway just to spite him and us. We're not going to stand aside in this case."
I have read two reports on Otani, one that because he was drafted MLB teams have to wait until April to sign him, and another that MLB teams can sign him immediately. Can anyone clarify this?
I wish I could.
I also read that we'd put Otani straight in AAA from a Rangers blog which made me promptly unfollow them on Twitter. He's ridiculously raw.
primi, I kinda explained the situation in the post right above yours. There is a "gentleman's agreement" between NPB and MLB that MLB will allow the NPB 3 months to sign their draft picks. Basically, it's not a set in stone agreement. The MLB could chose to adhere to that agreement and wait the 3 months. Or they could say screw that! The kid told you not to draft him! Its your own fault if you drafted him anyway! We arent going to stay away when he has publicly made his intentions known. Essentially, either could happen. The ball is in MLBs court right now.
A few items to add
(1) Otani was drafted by Nippon Ham. Even if MLB teams stick with the unwritten agreement to give Nippon Ham a window to negotiate without interference, if he wants to sign in the US, it's his choice, and that window of non-interference (if honored) would end on March 31.
(2) He's a long way from being a sure thing in baseball, and he's not the first to bypass Japanese baseball for the US. This is a bit of a word of caution:
"The track record for Japanese pitchers leapfrogging their own pro league, though, is not good. Makoto Suzuki, known as Mac, dropped out of high school and signed with the Seattle Mariners in 1993. After playing in the minor leagues for several years, he was traded to the Mets and then picked up by the Kansas City Royals. He later played for the Colorado Rockies, the Milwaukee Brewers, the Oakland Athletics and the Chicago Cubs and finished his career with a 16-31 record and a 5.72 E.R.A.
Kazuhito Tadano was a top college prospect who signed with the Cleveland Indians in 2003 and had a 1-1 record in two brief major league stints. In 2008, the Red Sox signed Junichi Tazawa, a top prospect who played in Japan’s industrial league. He asked Japanese teams not to draft him because he wanted to play in the United States.
He has compiled a 3-4 record and a 3.73 E.R.A. in parts of three seasons in Boston.
(3) The positive is that he has more than a blazing fastball. "One scout told me Otani hit 99 mph with his fastball and also has a plus curve. If he were graduating from an American high school this year, the 18-year-old would likely be a Top 5 pick in the June draft, the scout said."
(4) He's a kid, immersed in Japanese culture, and the cultural learning curve in the US would be steep. He doesn't speak English. "The larger question, the scout said, is whether Otani can adjust not only to the faster pace of baseball in the United States, but to life overseas. His father said that he worried about his son’s ability to bridge the cultural divide and speak English. "
Like most things in this world, talent only gets you so far. Work ethic does the rest. Does he have the work ethic to fulfill his potential? Only time will tell. But its definitely worth giving it a shot IMO since he has shown that he wants it and hasnt bowed to the pressure put on him by japanese baseball. Supposedly after he was drafted, the ham fighters went to his high school to talk to him and tell him how important he was. He didnt even go to the meeting.
Nate,I posed the question because of this post on MLB Trade Rumors that I read after your post.
It looks like the Rangers have the inside track by virtue of their available international budget. I hope the last MLB Trader report is accurate and baseball treats him as an international free agent. It will be interesting to see US and Japanese teams bid for the kid.
More Otani confusion. Yesterday MLB trade Rumors had two posts. One said MLB teams had to wait until March to sign Otani. A couple of hours later the site quoted a MLB official as saying teams could sign Otani now. Today it is back to square one. From the MLB trade Rumor site:
The Dodgers are also known to be in on 18-year-old Shohei Otani along with the Red Sox and Rangers. Hernandez notes that the Dodgers may have to approach the situation carefully as they have a longstanding relationship with Japanese baseball. The Nippon Ham Fighters, who selected Otani first overall in the NPB draft, have until the end of March to negotiate with him. Any team that signs him before then could hurt MLB's relationship with the top league in Japan.
Yea that post pretty much explains it. MLB teams CAN talk to him and sign him because there is no legal agreement prohibiting them from doing so. However, if they do, it could create friction between the NPB and MLB.
As far as the $$ angle, most dont think the consequences of going over the international signing pool arent prohibitive enough to keep teams from going over. The rangers do probably have one of the largest pools left because of the beras situation (though i havent seen any actual numbers on this). But, with the way the dodgers are throwing money around, I wouldnt be surprised if they go way over and accept the consequences.
Heavy Rangers lean. Too many factors in our favor. (1) Yu Darvish influence; (2) bigger international budget than any of the suitors; (3) strong relationship with kid's family. It seems the Rangers have been on this kid longer than anyone.
5 days ago:
RT @sp11ke "Haha just heard Dodgers and Red Sox went through school and city mayor regarding Shohei Otani while Rangers went directly to parents. #want"
Hopefully. I just think it might get into a bigger bidding war than we think because most sources say the consequences of going over arent prohibitive.
On another note, this has huge implications for the future of japanese prospects:
In the wake of Shohei Otani's announced intention to pursue a MLB career rather than play in Japan, Japanese baseball officials are considering stricter rules for amateur players who want to do the same, reports the Associated Press (via the Boston Herald).Read more at http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/shohei-otani/#ZiYbKXz14Q74elQL.99
Its interesting how hard the NPB has to try to keep their players. They seem to make a new rule every time someone bypasses them.
There can't be a bidding war when it comes to international free agent budgets. Each team is allotted $2.9M per year. Due to the Rangers not making much noise last year because of the Jairo Beras tie-up, they carry over their unused money. Simple.
I thought people were saying on here that you can go over the international budget, but you would have to pay a tax. If that is the case, then couldn't there be a bidding war if multiple teams are willing to take the "punishment" for going over the allotted international budget?
Nate, that's actually a really good point. I didn't take that into consideration with my above post. Still, even at that, I think the Rangers are in as strong a position as anyone, given the ties to the family and the fact that Otani idolizes Yu Darvish.
As long as the Rangers give a competitive offer -- that being, in the area of the highest bidder -- I think he's ours. Texas has been too dominant overseas in recent years.
The penalties for spending more than the set spending limit are onorous. From Baseball America last Spring:
"• Teams that go 0-5 percent over will pay a 75 percent tax on the overage.• Teams that go 5-10 percent over will pay the 75 percent tax on the overage and won't be able to sign more than one player for a bonus of more than $500,000 in the 2013-14 signing period.• Teams that go 10-15 percent over will pay a 100 percent tax on the overage and won't be able to sign any player for a bonus of more than $500,000 in the 2013-14 signing period.• Teams that go 15 percent or more over will pay a 100 percent tax on the overage and won't be able to sign any player for a bonus of more than $250,000 in the 2013-14 signing period. "
Yea, so alot depends on how you value next years crop IMO. If Otani is far and away better than any international FA available, then he may be worth the limited $$ next year. Or if you think your pool is going to be low enough next year (from what ive read, its slated to be anywhere from a lil over 1 mil to 4-5 mil depending on final standings) that the limits wont be prohibitive. Basically, theres alot of factors to consider. The new international rules are almost as complicated as the tax code...
I think everyone is sort of missing the boat on this.
From my POV, Otani is probably going to be taking a slight paycut in the short term if he opts for the MLB over NPB. I'm sure he knows this but is banking on the long-term rewards when he hits free agency a few years down the road.
If I were him, I'd be signing with the club that promised the best chance to develop and become successful at the MLB level - not the one that promises the most money (especially when we're talking about <$5M overall and probably $1.5M variance between offers). Is Texas that club? I don't know, but it seems like we've got a pretty good structure in place to lead to his success.
I'd also be looking at clubs like Seattle, SF, and the Rays that have a history of developing great young arms.
The upfront money is important because its his only guaranteed pay day. The big problem with the overages isn't the tax, its the restriction of max bonus. It pretty much rules a team out for pretty much every major IFA next year.
Realize that the total pool availble before you break the 15% overage is a total of 3.35 million. So you could easily see the Rangers can probably give something along 2.5-2.7 without worrying about any of the overages. I doubt anyone else can really pull that one off right now. That is a bit of an advantage. I'd pretty much guess no one is going to break the 15 barrier. I'm guessing 2.7-2.9 probably gets him signed and I think we are one of the few teams that can probably do that without killing our IFA ability the following year.
Well, probably a paycut in the very short term because he will probably spend time in the minors here and will push back his arbitration eligible years. But I would suspect the last 2-3 years of arbitration could be more than what he'd get there (obviously, depending on performance but if hes ace-worthy at that time, he could be looking at 10-15 mil each of those last 2-3 years of arbitration). And then about double what he would get in free agency (at least that seems to be the general rule - the NPB team gets half and the player gets half, roughly).
But yea, youd think by him making this decision, that he understands its a long term decision, not a short term one, and will thus focus on which organization has the best developmental program. However, hes an 18 year old kid with millions of dollars being thrown at him.
If he wanted a guaranteed payday he would have stayed in the NPB for 7 years, no doubt been successful, and probably received a healthy chunk of the Yu Darvish posting fee at some point.
Again, I don't think a $2.9 million offer from the Texas Rangers will trump a $1.9 million offer from anyone else simply on the basis that it's 'guaranteed'. He's coming here because he wants to be successful and play against the best. He'll pick the club that is best suited to help him get there.
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