Japanese superstar Shohei Otani has been granted permission from his Japanese team, the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters, to bring his talents to Major League Baseball for the 2018 season.
Under the current rules regarding international players being posted Otani can only receive whatever the teams are able to pay out of what is left from their allotted international free agent pools, along with the major league minimum.
This means that the Red Sox can offer a $462,000 signing bonus which is considerably lower than teams that have higher international bonus pool money.
Like many teams, the Red Sox have been scouting Otani for years. Led by their international scout, Shun Kakazu, the Sox have been monitoring Otani for years. Current Red Sox Assistant GM, Eddie Romero, met with the righty pitcher / lefty hitter years ago when Otani was just an 18-year-old high schooler.
If you are unfamiliar with Shohei Otani, he has been a can’t-miss prospect that many Major League teams have been salivating over for years. The Japanese star features a fastball in the high 90’s that can tough triple digits. At the plate, he showcases excellent power and possesses a skill set comparable to the overall number one pick in the 2017 MLB Draft, Hunter Greene.
The Red Sox have a history with scouting and signing international players out of Asia. This is highlighted by the signings of Daisuke Matsuzaka and Hideki Okajima in 2007, and Junichi Tazawa in 2008.
Under the current regime of Dombrowski, they recently became the first team to sign a player out of Tibet – catcher Qiang Ba.
As history may suggest, the Red Sox have a checkered history of finding success out on the Pacific Rim.