Via MLBTR: Right-hander Shohei Otani will forego the NPB draft in Japan and instead sign with an MLB club this winter. The 18-year-old checks in at 6-foot-4 and 190 lbs., and he can reportedly run his fastball up into the high-90s. The Red Sox, Rangers, Dodgers, and Orioles are all said to have interest.
Because of his age, Otani will be subject to the spending restrictions implemented by the new Collective Bargaining Agreement. The Yankees spent almost their entire $2.9M allotment on essentially three players on the first day of international free agency back in July. Otani will surely command a seven-figure bonus, which means New York would have to forfeit future spending power to sign him. I wouldn’t count on him waiting until next July — when the new year’s pool money kicks in — to sign either.