Latest On Shohei Otani

Shohei Otani, the Japanese pitching prospect who intends to pursue a career in MLB, appears to be an elite talent comparable to those selected in the top half of the first round of baseball’s amateur draft. The right-hander had been a potential first overall pick in Japan before he announced his intention to play for an MLB organization. And, according to Jim Callis of Baseball America, Dodgers assistant GM Logan White told Japanese reporters that Otani could go first overall if he were eligible for the MLB draft.

However, the 18-year-old free agent won’t be draft eligible. Otani will be subject to spending restrictions as an international amateur, which means teams will face consequences if they exceed the $2.9MM international bonus threshold to sign him. Teams will be taxed at a rate of 100% for exceeding the 2.9MM threshold by more than 15%. These clubs would also forfeit the right to spend more than $250K on an international player during the following year’s signing period. 

Callis suggests these restrictions won’t be too much of a deterrent for interested MLB teams. Boston GM Ben Cherington confirmed today that the Red Sox met with Otani, Alex Speier of reports (on Twitter). The Red Sox and Rangers “have done the most work in this arena,”’s Buster Olney reported today. Meanwhile, the Angels aren’t expected to be heavily involved, Alden Gonzalez of reports (on Twitter).

27 Responses to Latest On Shohei Otani Leave a Reply

  1. Lunchbox45 3 years ago

    Can you just sign him for 2 million and then give him a contract for 4 years at 10 million?

    Its only the signing bonus that’s controlled/restricted correct?

    • The Data 3 years ago

      That would be a hilariously huge loophole.

    • start_wearing_purple
      start_wearing_purple 3 years ago

      That’s exactly what I was wondering. However it seems too obvious of a loophole.

      • BlueSkyLA
        BlueSkyLA 3 years ago

        It would be, so it’s probably not possible. But that’s not to say that a team can’t offer him other perks with less tangible cash value. The Dodgers (for example) would provide him with a personal translator for two years. Does his salary get included in the spending cap? I’m guessing not.

    • $1529282 3 years ago

      I don’t think team are allowed to sign amateur draftees to Major League contracts, no. Just like how teams aren’t allowed to sign players from the draft to Major League deals anymore.

      As Data noted below though, that’d be a comically large loophole in the system if it’s possible.

      • $21621694 3 years ago

        Correct. No amateur player, drafted or international can be tendered a ML contract

  2. Shane 3 years ago

    Dbacks need to go after a Japanese player

  3. Jim Low 3 years ago

    I would just like to see Angelos make an effort at actually getting this guy for the Orioles but it looks like another dream that wont be a reality for the O’s..

  4. Leonard Washington 3 years ago

    Get him Ben!

  5. NYPOTENCE 3 years ago

    Wonder what the signing bonus will be. I would personally go all-in for a potential 1st overall pick and would definitely be willing to deal with the spending restrictions for one year.

  6. Goat_Rider 3 years ago

    Cub fans will be disappointed if Thoyer doesn’t put some major work into this guy.

    • Shel K 3 years ago

      I’d be not just disappointed, but confused. why would they not? this is exactly the type of player Theo says he wants, and exactly what the cubs need, and clearly the money is not an object. Cespedes was a question mark because of the amount of money in play, I could see the need for caution – but not here.

  7. lakersdodgersyankees4life 3 years ago

    Does he have to sign before October 25? (Japanese draft day) or is there any talk of when he will sign?

    • BaddW 3 years ago

      If it pass draft day and some NPB teams select him then MLB teams need to wait until March 31 to sign him.

      If no teams select him then he can start negotiate with MLB teams on friday.

      Also Otani is forced by NPB to attend meetings with any NPB teams if they select him even though he already said MLB only.

      Who knows maybe some teams going to use some backdoor persuasion technique to make him stay in Japan.

      • lakersdodgersyankees4life 3 years ago

        So he cannot sign before the draft basically? I think he’d tell the teams not to select him, but we’ll have to see

        • chris german 3 years ago

          Yea, but that doesn’t seem to stop NPB teams very much. Look at Tomoyuki Sugano last year. He said he only wanted to play for the Giants and the Fighters wound up winning the pick for him. Idk if you’re an NPB fan, but he never signed with them and chose to not play professionally for an entire year rather than play for a team he didn’t want to be with. It’s very different over there.

          As a Fighters fan, I’m still a little bitter about that…

          • lakersdodgersyankees4life 3 years ago

            Honestly, i know very little about the NPB. I’d hope that the teams acknowledge the lose of a top pick in the draft would be a big loss, and let him go

          • chris german 3 years ago


  8. NyMetsBoy31 3 years ago

    Meanwhile the Mets’ll sit by and twiddle their thumbs just like they did with Cespedes.

  9. You Know Who 3 years ago

    Hopefully amaro will jump on this. Phillies need a real prospect.

  10. Dustroia15 3 years ago

    Sox should give him $4-5M, pay the penalty. They need to continue rebuilding the farm, add this guy to a top 10 draft pick. They have the extra money this year to do it.

  11. Shel K 3 years ago

    ok, Theo, I read somewhere here that you might have eyes on John Lannan, gawd help us. You can only have him if you balance the talent ledger by also getting this kid.

  12. I’d like to see the Yankees make a play for him, but I know they won’t and he’ll be overpriced anyway I suppose…

  13. Patrick Gilbride 3 years ago

    Cubs spent most of their international spending money on Juan Carlos Paniagua, as much as I want this kid, doubt the money will work out.

  14. BlueSkyLA
    BlueSkyLA 3 years ago

    Wasn’t Otani supposed to announce his decision on Monday?

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