|Otani in action in the 18 year old and under championships against Canada in Seoul, Korea on August 12, 2012. (photo by Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images Asia Pacific)|
Sunday, October 21, 2012
High School Phenom from Japan on Dodger Radar
The blogs are blowing up with the news that Japan’s High School phenom, Shohei Otani is opting for free agency and announced that he wants to play in the Untied States. This is s situation that hasn’t ever happened before, and it won’t result in a bidding war for his services. MLB has limited each teams international budget to a paltry $2.9 million. That new rule under the Collective Bargaining Agreement kicked in this past July, which explained the Dodger’s $42 million Yasiel Puig just before the rule took affect.
So what does it come down to in order to sign this kid with the 100 MPH heater? A lot of persuasion that has little to do with money, at least initially. It is reported that the Dodgers have had a good start, with Dodger scout Keiichi Kojima having scouted him since his Freshman year. According to reports, the Dodgers have already forged a relationship with Otani's High School coach who has been acting as his spokesman and representative.
Now what will happen if NPB team selects him in the draft, against Otani’s wishes? Apparently they’ll have until March to attempt to change his mind and negotiate a deal with him. If Otani rejects that, he’ll be banned from playing in the Japanese league for three years. Since this is unprecedented territory, it will be interesting if NPB teams will pass on him and that MLB teams will have an open season on recruiting him.
There are a lot of questions regarding the future negotiations on the youngster. Other MLB teams that are said to be in on Otani are the Texas Rangers and Boston Red Sox. Certainly there will be more.