Yahoo – Baseball super agent Scott Boras is, in no uncertain terms, upset about the process that’s lead up to Japanese superstar Shohei Ohtani’s arrival in Major League Baseball. Ohtani, after a posting agreement was finalized last week, is set to hit the open market Friday. The catch is: Since he’s an international free agent under 25, the market isn’t as open as it could be. MLB rules put a hard cap on how much teams can spend on international free agents under 25, so the most money Ohtani could possibly get is $3.5 million from the Texas Rangers. Some teams have as little as $10,000 to offer Ohtani. This isn’t about the money for Ohtani, who has long expressed his desire to play on baseball’s most competitive stage. To do so, he’s willing to leave upward of $200 million on the table. Were he over 25, Ohtani could be a true free agent and sign with any team for any amount. Since he’s a two-way star who can throw 100 mph and hit long home runs, getting upward of $200 million on the open market would be entirely plausible.
This guy is INSANE. He is leaving, literally, tens if not hundreds of millions of dollars on the table by coming to the MLB early. Because he is under 25 years old the international rules in place by MLB cap his earning potential $3.5 million. MAX. But if he had waited until he was 25 he could have entered the MLB as a true free agent and would have been free to go to the highest bidder.
Why the arbitrary age of 25?
“picking 25 years old as the cut-off means that a player like Ohtani will hit free agency around the same time as a player from the U.S. who went through the normal draft procedures.”
Just to put this into perspective, the most recent big name Japanese free agents coming MLB earned HUGE pay days. The Yankees signed Masahiro Tanaka for $155 Million. The Rangers signed Yu Darvish for $60 Million. The Red Sox even signed old friend Daisuke Matsuzaka for $51 Million and that was 10 years ago.
So this guy better hope he has the juice and actually performs well in the United States or he just sold low on a winning lottery ticket. Thats half the appeal with international players. You just never know how good (or bad) they’re gonna be. It’s impossible to project how their talent will translate to playing in the MLB. Thats how absolute bums like Rusney Castillo swindled $72 Million out of the Red Sox. Imagine if that guy had come over the US and played for peanuts in hopes of getting a big pay day later? That guy would be working at the Burger King off I-95 in Pawtucket, Rhode Island instead of earning $10+ Million a year to play 2 miles down the road for the PawSox.
Remember the last guy who wanted to pitch and hit in the major leagues? Red Sox super prospect Casey Kelly? Yea, turns out he couldn’t do either one well in the pros. Godspeed, Shohei.