MLB Teams May Have To Wait For Otani

Shohei Otani intends to pursue a career in MLB, but that won’t stop a Japanese team from selecting him in the upcoming amateur draft for NPB teams. Masao Yamada, the general manager for the Nippon Ham Fighters, said he intends to select the highly-regarded 18-year-old with the first overall selection in the upcoming draft, according to a Sanspo report passed along by Patrick Newman of NPB Tracker.

If an NPB team drafts Otani, he would be prevented from signing with an MLB team for several months. The drafting team would have the rights to the right-hander until the end of March, 2013 under an agreement between MLB and NPB. If he declines to sign with an NPB team, MLB teams will be able to bid on his as a free agent. Teams will be subject to international spending restrictions, but as Jim Callis of Baseball America explained this week, those restrictions won’t necessarily be a major deterrent.

The Red Sox, Rangers and Dodgers appear to have some interest in Otani. The Angels don’t seem interested.

Full Story | 57 Comments | Categories: Shohei Otani

57 Responses to MLB Teams May Have To Wait For Otani Leave a Reply

  1. dc21892 3 years ago


  2. That’d seem like a wasted top pick for the Fighters since they know of his desire to play in MLB. Pick out of spite just to delay his arrival in MLB?

    • jwsox 3 years ago

      It wouldn’t delay his arrival. It’s not like he is going to start 2013 in the majors he would at the very least spend a half a season in the minors and that’s being extremely liberal.

      • LukeNalooshe 3 years ago

        a half-season? he’s 18 years old. jeepers.

        • jwsox 3 years ago

          Which is why I said extremely liberal. Likely a year or two or three but he easily could spend half a season in the minors and come up as a reliever to ease him into the majors like Chris sale.

      • The delay comment was only speculation. It still seems like a wasted top pick for a NPB team when he’s made his intentions clear. Who knows, ultimately, what the Fighters reasoning is? Could be a move out of greed (though I doubt it) as someone else had mentioned here given he could require a large posting fee and larger contract by coming to MLB when he hits free agency (assuming he’s successful in NPB or his rights aren’t sold to an MLB team). That might not be the smartest move given the recent issues NPB players (with obvious exceptions) tend to have when moving to MLB due to differences in workload and training methods. Daisuke is a prime example.

  3. Goat_Rider 3 years ago

    Why would Nippon do this? Anybody know if the NPB has a compesation structure in place for unsigned draft picks? Maybe they are trying to shame/convince him into staying in country.

    • jjs91 3 years ago

      Same reason mlb teams pick people committed to going to college. For all we know Otani did this to raise his own price.

      • lakersdodgersyankees4life 3 years ago

        Everyone seems convinced he’s not in it for the money. His dream is to play MLB ball and that’s what he wants to do.

        • BlueSkyLA
          BlueSkyLA 3 years ago

          I’m not convinced that money isn’t behind this move. The young man has a pro sports agent, no doubt, and is being advised on how to maximize his earning ability. Not sure I see how he does so this way, but the system is complicated, especially when the very different drafting rules for the two leagues are taken into consideration.

          • lakersdodgersyankees4life 3 years ago

            I disagree. He had to declare for the draft before he had made the decision to come to the majors. If he didn’t declare but decided to stay in Japan, he’d be screwed. Because he made that choice, it now may slow down his path to an MLB team. But honestly, it will just be October- March, not too much time

          • johnsilver 3 years ago

            I mentioned Matsuzaka and Oki-J only in Tazawa’s case because he said Matsuzaka was his favorite player and hoped to ne day become a teammate of his. tazawa mentioned one of the biggest selling points was the tremendous support staff boston had in place.

            Texas doesn’t really have the history of going to the Pacific rim and targeting players as far as I know, wish could remember the teams that have FT scouts in that area, but it isn’t many. Baltimore, Boston, Seattle, SF, LAD, NY remember are most from the list. By Pacific rim am including Australia also of course.. That has become the newest target for some teams to scour well for kids.

          • lakersdodgersyankees4life 3 years ago

            I wasn’t talking about you when I said that, just in general of a lot comments I’ve seen over the last few weeks

          • johnsilver 3 years ago

            Understand :-) Mentioned it again.. Probably shouldn’t.. Like you keep hearing that some Rangers fans think that just having Darvish and no real history of Asian players other than that is a factor and I don’t really think so. If he goes to Texas, it’s because they offer the most money and in Otani’s case that would have been the deciding factor.

            I just think that purely money isn’t going to be what decides where he lands. Seriously? Seattle is my pick anyway.

          • lakersdodgersyankees4life 3 years ago

            Don’t think it’s gonna be Seattle. How I understand it, he has met with Boston, Texas and the dodgers. The O’s wanted to meet with him but couldnt get a meeting. I read a report that he isn’t going to meet with any more teams and will sign with one of Boston, Texas or the Dodgers. I don’t think Boston is going to sign him- not enough money and he may be wary of going there with all the problems in the management section.

            Think it’s between Texas and LAD. Basically it will be slight money advantage with Texas, but a longer history of Asian players for the Dodgers. Hopefully he isn’t selected tomorrow and he can be signed ASAP

          • BlueSkyLA
            BlueSkyLA 3 years ago

            The Rangers’ ace in the hole is Jim Colborn. He has a long history with Japanese players, pitchers in particular.

          • BlueSkyLA
            BlueSkyLA 3 years ago

            Maybe I’m just missing something, but I don’t follow your answer. If the player says he wants to play in MLB, what difference does declaring for the NPB draft make?It sounds like at least three MLB teams are prepared to make him a free agent offer right now. Why wait until March to accept one?

          • lakersdodgersyankees4life 3 years ago

            Okay, I’ll go the detailed route. Otani declared for the NPB draft before October 21, when he said he wanted to come to the MLB. The deadline to declare for the Japanese draft was before the 21st, so he had to declare, in case he wanted to stay in Japan. If he didn’t declare and decided to stay in Japan, he’d have been in trouble. So because he had to declare, he had to wait until the draft (last night) before he was allowed to talk money with any MLB team. He was selected in the draft, so now he is property of the team that picked him. He has to wait until the end of March now, because there is an agreement with MLB and NPB that says MLB teams cannot sign or talk to players that have been selected before that deadline. After that deadline, as long as he doesn’t change his mind, then he is once again allowed to sign with an MLB team

          • BlueSkyLA
            BlueSkyLA 3 years ago

            Thanks for the detail. From what I’d read, it sounded like he had not made himself eligible for the NPB draft yet. I presume also from what I’ve heard that, similar to the MLB draft, the drafting team has a fixed time period to come to terms with a player.

          • lakersdodgersyankees4life 3 years ago

            No worries. One edit that came out today, and it is stated above: Apparently Otani CAN sign with an MLB team at any time, but it would further annoy many NPB teams. Not only is MLB taking their top prospects, but also not honoring the system. In the end though, NPB has no way to really make him not go after he fulfills his requirement (one draft meeting with the team)

          • BlueSkyLA
            BlueSkyLA 3 years ago

            International baseball politics at work. Can we imagine the complications if China ever starts developing baseball players?

          • lakersdodgersyankees4life 3 years ago

            WWIII starting with baseball prospects? haha

          • BlueSkyLA
            BlueSkyLA 3 years ago

            I was thinking more like China flooding us with cheap players.

          • lakersdodgersyankees4life 3 years ago

            Haha I know, I was just kidding

          • johnsilver 3 years ago

            Tazawa did the same thing several years back.. Told all the NPB teams to just forget about drafting him, because he wanted to play in the MLB.. It was his dream. He took millions less even to play for Boston and not saying that as a Red Sox fan.. Just mentioning that some people know what they want to do and where they want to play and are willing to leave loads of cash on the table, play with a comfort level.

            BlueSky.. You and I have touched on this before.. Tazawa wanted to play for Boston because at that time they had Matsuzaka and Oki-J at the MLB level, loads of other Asian players at the minor league levels and Japanese support staff in the minor leagues. Teams that can offer things along those lines have a leg up in some cases when it comes to enticing players from countries who are not chasing every last dime, but maybe letting the comfort level be a big factor in the decision making.

            I still think that is why Seattle, LA(D) and Boston might have an advantage with such a young player looking to switch cultures 9 months out of the year.

          • lakersdodgersyankees4life 3 years ago

            I agree teams will have another selling point but I don’t agree with the people that say “Texas has a leg up because of Darvish”. Otani will spend at most 3 weeks in ST with Darvish and that’s it. Darvish never went through the minors, and really isn’t going to be much of a help for Otani. Like I’ve said before, its not like Darvish will call him every night to check up on him

      • Cubstein 3 years ago

        Yeah but those picks are usually done in the later rounds not with the first overall.

  4. MadmanTX 3 years ago

    Hmm. If Otani is drafted AND signs with a Japanese team, it might be a ploy for all concerned to make a ton of money down the road. Otani has to realize he won’t make a lot being signed now by a MLB team with the restrictions on how much teams can offer him, even if they go over the cap of $2.9 mil. I hope that Otani won’t give in to the greed if he wants to maybe see about working his way into a major league rotation quickly.

    • Lunchbox45 3 years ago

      makes no sense from otani because there’s no guarantee that he will make more money down the road. Especially as a pitcher, so many things could happen, injuries and poor performance before his future posting.

      If he wants to play in the mlb, now is the time to make the move over.

      • LazerTown 3 years ago

        Yep, Players usually get only half of what they would actually get on the open market because of the posting system. He would also have to wait 9 seasons in their Majors to become a free agent. Darvish only got 56/6.

  5. Chuck Norris 3 years ago

    I think the Nippon Ham Fighters will make him an offer Otani can’t reject. Much more than any mlb team.

    • Dustin Bicknell 3 years ago

      Nippon sold the rights to Darvish just so they could cover team payroll. I don’t see them making a deal like that.

      • Chuck Norris 3 years ago

        If they are smart they will be looking to move him too later on to MLB for alot of money.

        • Paul Shailor 3 years ago

          That sounds great for otani. I mean really who wouldnt want to play for 10 years then be sold at a top dollar figure when you dont even see the majority of that.

  6. Paul Shailor 3 years ago

    I guess why draft a guy who probably wont sign? I mean yea people can change their minds but is it really worth wasting the top overall pick on? Darvish did get a lot of money, but he probably could have gotten more if he had just started out in the bigs as teams are hesitant with that posting fee.

    • LukeNalooshe 3 years ago

      Will they get the #1 overall pick again in their league next year if they can’t sign him? Or is that rule limited to the Major League amateur draft?

      • lakersdodgersyankees4life 3 years ago

        Don’t know but MLB rules have nothing to do with NPB. Two different leagues

  7. lakersdodgersyankees4life 3 years ago

    That’s disappointing. Was hoping the poster yesterday was either incorrect or that Japanese teams would not pick him. Apparently this happened recently with another player who did not play for a year because he didn’t want to sign. Hopefully Otani can convince the teams to choose another player

    • BaddW 3 years ago

      It’s also Nippon Ham the same team that selected the player last year who decided not to play for a year.

      Otani only forced to sit and attend just one meeting. If he can tough it out for one whole day, it’s gonna be easy. After that he could just sit and wait at home until March 31 or maybe fly to America to check out each MLB teams stadium.

      Maybe Otani should hire a bodyguard for the meeting.

  8. Leonard Washington 3 years ago

    NPB could go out and try scouting top American picks but they know its a waste of time because our league has superior talent and money. So now they are gonna go out and delay this kid doing what he wants to do because they are sour about it. Tough. If the kid becomes anything like he is projected to be then he will have better earning potential with us then NPB, and most importantly of all he will be able to really challenge himself. I bet Darvish wishes he did this because you can easily add 30M+ to the deal he would have right now if he did.

    • $17867741 3 years ago

      If Otani’s desire to pitch in America is true, then what’s this big fuss?

      Otani’s American baseball career will begin in the MINOR LEAGUES. The worst case scenario, Otani misses spring training and doesn’t report to camp till May 2013…. Big whoop. In the grand scheme of things, is there even a difference in those two months?

      • lakersdodgersyankees4life 3 years ago

        Mainly that they can start training him sooner. Get him on their throwing program so he is ready for ST and the minors

  9. Cubstein 3 years ago

    Figure he’s better off waiting until next year’s International market opens anyway as many teams have already spent a large portion of their allotted budget.

  10. basemonkey 3 years ago

    This changes the calculus a great deal I would think. Why? Because at that point, he’d be available to many more than just a few teams’ International spending limits being reset for 2013.

    The teams who want him may exhaust their extant cap, signing as many international free agents as possible right now, and gear up to get this guy. The lower order teams that are still building up a core are especially ones to keep an eye on (e.g. Orioles, Boston, etc..).

    Regarding the Orioles, their surprise season will drop them in the draft order, but this might be a way for them to maintain the lottery pick caliber of talent in the pipeline to add to Wieters, Machado, Bundy, Gausman.

  11. withpower 3 years ago

    Before anyone gets too carried away with this kid, who certainly looks impressive stuff-wise, he posted 16 BB in only 14.1 IP in the Koshien.

    That’s a far cry from what guys like Darvish, Matsuzaka, and Tanaka did at the same tournament.

  12. Karkat 3 years ago

    What if Nippon Ham signs him and then immediately posts him. Millions more for them AND Otani. #conspiracies

    • BlueSkyLA
      BlueSkyLA 3 years ago

      For the team, not necessarily for the player. Whatever market value he’s got right now, the team will get a huge cut of that.

  13. Actuary 3 years ago

    I really hope the BoSox could go out make an offer that just blow people away and sign this guy … the penalty for spending past the limit isn’t really that bad … I will definitely take a chance with this guy with say 5 mil if I were Ben …

    • lakersdodgersyankees4life 3 years ago

      I have to think MLB will not allow teams to go to 5M when the cap is 2.9M. You’d have to think the teams don’t think they can get away with that

      • Actuary 3 years ago

        The rule is if you go beyond 15% of the pool you can not spend over 250k on any player the next year … So my point is, you if gonna go over that 15% line any way, might as well go way off and make it worth

        • lakersdodgersyankees4life 3 years ago

          Yeah I know, but I’m saying the MLB has to approve every contract. If it’s obvious that you are just ignoring rules, I wouldn’t be surprised if Ben get a call from Selig

  14. withpower 3 years ago

    All those other guys I mentioned were the same age [18] when they did their thing at the Koshien.

  15. lakersdodgersyankees4life 3 years ago

    Otani is an 18 year old with a 100MPH fastball, splitter and change(?). He admitted that he plans to start in the minors, just that he wants to compete in the for the majors soon. This is the equivalent of a HS senior. Logan White is one of the top talent evaluator in the majors, and said he would go top overall. Its noted that he is more raw than Darvish, but has better stuff at a younger age. Still an amazing prospect

  16. withpower 3 years ago

    The gun was hot. And I think you ought to be careful declaring that his stuff is better than Darvish’s was.

  17. lakersdodgersyankees4life 3 years ago

    Or with a few basic searches you can see the accepted idea among scouts is Otani’s stuff is better but darvish was more polished at the same age

  18. withpower 3 years ago

    He’s not even the consensus top Japanese draft pick.

  19. lakersdodgersyankees4life 3 years ago

    so? Is Harper’s year less impressive because Trout was better? Just because there is another good player in Japan doesn’t have any effect on the Otani- Darvish comparison

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