In yet another sign that multi-talented Japanese pitching and hitting sensation Shohei Otani intends to jump to play Major League Baseball next year, he has begun interviewing prospective agents. Japanese outlets reported two weeks ago that Otani is intending to come over, as long suspected. Some have questioned why he would come now rather than wait two more years, when he can become a free agent at age 25, and there has been speculation he could change his mind. Anything is possible, of course, but the process has begun. Word is that Otani has been repped by a lawyer in early meetings, and that he and his team will choose from a group of prominent agents, who have begun making the trek to Japan for the meetings. One person familiar with the situation suggested Otani’s team may winnow the agent hopefuls down soon, and begin a second round of interviews within the next week or so. Big-time agencies Wasserman (led by Joel Wolfe and Adam Katz), Octagon (headed by Alan Nero) and the Scott Boras Corporation are believed to be in the early mix and seen as among the favorites, as all have experience repping Japanese stars. Many groups declined comment or ignored messages regarding the process, but other big-time agencies with experiencing repping Japanese stars include Excel (Casey Close), CAA (Brodie Van Wagenen) and John Boggs. Otani, only 23, is telling folks he wants to play in MLB to test his skills, despite the financial sacrifice a transition now would presumably entail. The CBA disallows international players under age-25 from being free agents, so Otani would be subjected to regular international bonus pool limitations, meaning he’d have to sign a minor-league deal with a bonus no greater than his chosen team’s pool. Teams have between $4.5 million and $5.5 million, plus pool money acquired from others but minus monies committed to other international signees.
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Otani seeking agent more proof he’s coming to MLB
Fanrag Sports | Sep 26