NESN – It appears the Boston Red Sox want a seat at the table of the Shohei Otani sweepstakes. The Red Sox are one of many MLB teams to express interest in the highly-touted Japanese pitcher/outfielder, according to multiple reports. The Sox and New York Yankees have the most international allotment money in the majors — $8 million apiece — and thus are in the best position to pursue a player like Otani, per Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports. And according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports and The Athletic, Boston and New York are among 13 teams who have requested to scout Otani in person.
Tomato/to-mah-toh. While some may see Dice-K 2.0 others may see a pitcher/outfielder who excels at both and think of the immortal Casey Kelley! Another can’t miss prospect who was so good at pitching and playing the field that he ended up being good at neither as a pro.
The Sox have been gearing up for a move like this though as they are tied for the most international allotment money in the majors at $8M. Tied with the goddamn Yankees to boot.
So you know the Red Sox are just itching to throw some money at a sexy foreign prospect because they have such a great track record with expensive international players like Dice-K and colossal bust Rusney Castillo. Boston tends to fare better with smaller deals when dipping its toe into the international pool with guys like Junichi Tazawa and Hideki Okajima. We did also get guys like Xander Bogaerts and Yoan Moncada (top prospect in MLB despite his early career struggles).
Obviously the Sox aren’t going to shun the international market, nor should they, because of a few (HUGE) swings and misses, but I am a little reluctant to give another gigantic payday to an unknown player because he’s mowing down 140 pound Japanese guys halfway across the world.
Either way Shohei Otani played in the WBC for Japan and currently plays in the Nippon Pro Baseball League (just like ya boy Dice-K) and is straight up DOMINATING.
“He started 20 games on the mound for the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters in 2016, tallying a 10-4 record and a 1.86 ERA. He also has thrown the fastest recorded pitch in NPB history, at 102 mph. Otani excelled as a hitter last season, as well, posting a .322 batting average with 22 home runs and 67 RBIs in 2014 games played.”
So definitely someone to keep an eye on, especially if David Price continues to circle the drain amidst his $217 DL stint. Shohei Otani watch is ON!
PS – Fun fact. A few years ago I made the pilgrimage to Queens to check out Citi Field as the Mets were playing the Red Sox. And who was on the mound? Yup, Dice-K. Didn’t even realize he was still in the league. How’d he do you ask? Left the game due to injury of course. What a career.