Nippon Ham Fighters will select Shohei Otani in NPB draft

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Open Thread: World Series Game One

Via Sanspo (translated article): The Nippon Ham Fighters will select 18-year-old right-hander Shohei Otani in the first round of the NPB draft tomorrow. Otani, who Ben Badler (subs. req’d) says is one of the top high school prospects in Japan, has already said that he wants to join an MLB team this winter.

The NPB draft is nothing like the MLB draft — every team can select the same player, then his rights get awarded through a lottery. Chad Moriyama explained the whole crazy system. Balder reports that Otani would still be able to sign with an MLB team even if an NPB club drafts him, but the two leagues have an gentleman’s agreement in place preventing them from poaching each other’s amateur players. Otani could instead ask his club to post him a la Yu Darvish and Daisuke Matsuzaka.

What Went Wrong: Derek Jeter's ankle
Open Thread: World Series Game One
  • Jerkface

    Mike, are you sure the posted player is exempt from the IFA rules? The rules in the CBA do not have an exemption. The posting fee would not count, but because Otani has not been a professional for X years and is under the age of like 25 or whatever it says in the CBA he would be covered by the IFA rules.

    Players Covered by a Club’s Signing Bonus Pool and Exemp-tions from Pool
    1. International Players (defined as players who are residents
    of any country or territory other than the United States,
    Canada, and Puerto Rico) will be covered by a Club’s
    Signing Bonus Pool unless exempted pursuant to subpara-graphs E.2 below.
    2. Bonuses paid to International Players will not count
    toward a Club’s Signing Bonus Pool in the following two
    a. Players who previously contracted with a Major or
    Minor League Club.
    b. Players who are least 23 years of age and have played
    as a professional in a league recognized by the Com-missioner’s Office for a minimum of five seasons. Dur-ing the 2012-2013 and 2013-2014 signing periods,
    Cuban players who are at least 23 years of age and have
    played as a professional in a Cuban professional league
    for a minimum of three seasons will be covered by this
    exemption. In all signing periods following the 2013-2014 signing period, Cuban players only will be exempt
    if they are 23 years of age and have played as a profes-sional in a Cuban professional league for a minimum of
    five seasons.

    • Jerkface

      I don’t think the Ham Fighters can post Otani unless he signs with the team either.

    • Mike Axisa

      The recap of the CBA stuff I found says posted players were exempt, but that could be because they’re usually 23+. I’ll take it down just in case.

  • Tom

    I believe the other option Otani has is simply not signing with the NPB club that drafts him. At that point he would be a free agent and could sign in the US (and treated like an IFA, meaning no posting fee)

    But I think this would delay his ability to sign for several months. There was a mention of this over at MLBTraderumors

    • RetroRob

      The problem with that is the gentlemen’s agreement between MLB and NPB. I’m not so sure teams will ignore it. Uncharted territory here. Yet, if Otani doesn’t sign with any NPB team, then he a free agent just like any other player in Japan who has put his time in and his contract has expired.

      Don’t know where this is going.

      • Steve (different one)

        The Red Sox already broke the gentlemen’s agreement to sign Tazawa. Just as they broke the gentlemen’s agreement not to claim players on waivers who were sold to Japanese teams for Kevin Millar.

        • Gonzo

          I believe that Tazawa was in a different position. He was undrafted and in the industrial league. That was more grey area whereas this is more clear cut. At least that’s my understanding. I could be wrong.

          • Preston

            It would be crappy for a Japanese team to draft him when he’s said he wants to go to the MLB and it would be silly for MLB teams to blackball him and force this kid to play in Japan because of a silly “gentlemens” agreement.

            • Gonzo

              From a business perspective, why wouldn’t you draft him? Even if it’s just to pocket millions from an MLB team right afterward?

  • Murderers’ Row Boat

    It would be nice for the Yankees to spend money on this kid, having missed out on every Cuban player over the last three years.

    • The Moral Majority is Neither

      They signed a stout Cuban lefty for $4M right before the spending rule kicked in.

    • DC


      • Andy Pettitte’s Fibula

        In case you haven’t been paying attention, the Yankees sure could use an infusion of young cheap talent.

        • DC


  • The Moral Majority is Neither

    I hope the Japanese team drafts him and he plays over there, only because I can’t see the Yankees gvetting him.

  • CT Yankee

    What I was reading at was that whoever drafts him (they got his crazy lottery over in Japan as I read above) they got 6 months to sign him. After that, rights are gone and he can come over to MLB as a free agent.

    If this is true and the kid leaves them hanging all that time, is it worth to bring him in so late?

    • Gonzo

      Signing him in that scenario is still breaking the gentleman’s agreement.

      • Jerkface

        Not really. Signing him while he is negotiating with the Fighters would be breaking the agreement, but if Otani really wants to come to the Majors he will simply not sign then come over on April 1st.

        At that time he’ll only be about a month behind everyone else.

        • Gonzo

          That’s not my understanding of the gentleman’s agreement. I believe it is that no MLB team will go after any player drafted by a NPB team. It’s to discourage Japanese players from not signing. I could be wrong.

          • RetroRob

            I think what’s clear is that none of us know.

            • Gonzo

              I’m not proclaiming to know because I don’t want to get into it with anyone on this board. I’m just regurgitating what people that say they know are saying.

              Think about it logically though. If signing with the MLB after the 6 months wasn’t against the gentleman’s agreement, what deterrent is 6 months? Makes no sense that it would be ok to sign after 6 months.