The new collective bargaining agreement will significantly damage Japanese superstar Shohei Otani’s earning power if the 22-year-old immigrates to the majors before he turns 25, but that might not prevent him from coming to the big leagues prior to 2019. Hideki Kuriyama, Otani’s manager with the Nippon-Ham Fighters, said Thursday that he expects the right-handed ace/left-handed hitter to head to the majors next offseason (Twitter link via Jim Allen of Kyodo News). Otani will have to take a minor league deal if he signs with a major league team before he turns 25. That means he’d need to accrue six years of service time before becoming a major league free agent and having a real chance to cash in via the open market. As of last weekend, the Fighters were planning on posting Otani a year from now.
A couple more notes from around baseball:
- The Red Sox and Brewers set the wheels in motion for Tuesday’s Travis Shaw/Tyler Thornburg trade at the general managers meetings in early November, writes Alex Speier of the Boston Globe in a highly detailed piece that’s worth a full read. Milwaukee GM David Stearns told Red Sox president Dave Dombrowski that the Brewers would want Shaw and more in return. “’I said, ‘Well, it would be something we’d be interested in talking about,'” Dombrowski recalled. Talks went dormant as the two sides awaited a new CBA, which Major League Baseball and the players’ union reached Nov. 30. Then, less than a week later at the winter meetings, the Red Sox agreed to send Shaw and two minor leaguers – shortstop Mauricio Dubon and right-hander Josh Pennington – to the Brewers for Thornburg.
- The rebuilding Phillies might have another lean year or two ahead, but GM Matt Klentak expects their ever-growing core of young talent and the franchise’s spending ability to form a lethal mix soon. “One of the advantages that we have as a big market club is that we’ve been able to take advantage of the past couple of years to trade some key assets to get younger,” Klentak told Ryan Lawrence of PhillyVoice. “Another huge advantage we have is that we have a very dedicated ownership that we know will spend when the time is right.” That time might be two winters away, when free agency could feature such superstars as Bryce Harper, Manny Machado, Clayton Kershaw and Josh Donaldson.