Japanese report has Yankees interested in Shohei Otani

There is a 6-foot-4 Japanese right handed pitcher that throws a fastball in the 99-100 mph range that is interested in coming to pitch in America and one Japanese report has the Yankees among the teams “leading the chase” to sign him, according to Mark Feinsand of the NY Daily News.

You might not have heard of Shohei Otani yet, but that’s probably because he’s only 18-years-old. He’s extremely impressive though because of his combination of age, size, and velocity.

The unfortunate part for the Yankees is that part of what makes him so impressive — his age.┬áBecause Otani is only 18, teams will be subject to the spending restrictions on international free agents and the Yankees have nearly spent all of the $2.9 million they have been allotted.

How there are two ways the Yankees could still land him, but both are unlikely. If they go more than $250K past the $2.9 million allotment then they can’t sign IFA’s next year so that rules that out. Or they could wait until July to sign him when the spending limit is reset for the year. The latter is very unlikely because it’s not like the Yankees could outspend anybody even then so Otani has no motivation to wait that long.

Now this doesn’t kill the Yankees chances even if it does make them extremely unlikely to get into the mix. There is a provision in the CBA that allows them to trade for another team’s IFA allotment, up to 50 percent. That’s never actually happened though so I’m not sure how it works, but the Yankees could potentially find themselves with another $1.45 million to spend that way.

My guess is that the report is inaccurate. I’m sure the Yankees have had plenty of scouts to watch this kid and that’s probably been mistaken for interest. It also doesn’t hurt page views to list the Yankees in teams that might be interested. In reality, the Yankees signing Otani is a very big long shot.

About Rob Abruzzese

Rob Abruzzese created Bronx Baseball Daily in 2008 just before graduating from Brooklyn College. He currently serves BBD as its editor and works as a reporter at the Brooklyn Daily Eagle. Follow Rob on Twitter @RobAbruzzese.
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5 Responses to Japanese report has Yankees interested in Shohei Otani

  1. Gonzalo Hiram says:

    I just have to say that not landing Chapman, Cespedes, Darvish or Wei-Yin Chen stinks

  2. JimmyToucan says:

    The kid would be smart to wait until June; not only do the Yankees, but every other team has their cap reset which brings more teams into the bidding. Unless he's a complete fool he'll wait.

    The Yankees would also be complete fools if theydid t scout him; if he were to wait until June to sign and they hadn't done their due diligence anyone with a brain would be screaming as to why they didn't do their due diligence.

    As far as no one ever trading for an IFA allotment, the reason it's never happened might just be because they just recently made these rules, so the lack of precedent argument is rather silly.

  3. Jerkface says:

    Hello bronx baseball,

    If the Yankees go over their limit they are still able to sign IFAs next year, they will just be limited to contracts 250k or under. That is fine, as they often spend a lot at that level to get multiple guys.

    Trading of draft pools is not allowed until next IFA period.

    Hope this helps!

  4. Gonzalo Hiram says:

    I just found this and wanted to share it:

    Under the new Collective Bargaining Agreement, teams get $2.9 million with which to sign international amateurs. But unlike the restrictions for exceeding draft bonus pools, which could cost a club its next two first-round choices, the penalties for surpassing international bonus pools aren't as harsh. A team that blows past its international pool by 15 percent or more would pay a 100-percent tax on the overage and be forbidden to pay an international amateur more than $250,000 during next year's signing period.

    For a player with Otani's upside, that's not much of a deterrent. Also consider that in the draft, a player of his caliber would be available only to the teams choosing at the very top. On the worldwide market, all 30 teams are in play. Clubs accustomed to picking at the bottom of the draft may be willing to pay dearly for the opportunity to sign him.

    • Thanks that's helpful. I guess the Yankees just have to consider missing out on the top 3-5 available IFA guys the next time around if they really want this guy. That might not be worth it, but it might be depending on who is available.

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