• Yankees & Bosox Disagree On Junichi Tazawa

    Posted by on November 23rd, 2008 · Comments (21)

    First, the Yankees take via the New York Times -

    As far as Junichi Tazawa is concerned, the most rebellious acts in his 22 years have been ignoring his homework and sneaking home after sunrise. But as the first high-profile Japanese baseball prospect to spurn his nation’s leagues to entertain offers from U.S.-based major-league teams, he has found himself straining relations between baseball leagues on two continents, with accusations of talent raiding and breaking decades-long understandings.

    Many Japanese baseball officials are outraged that U.S. teams are courting Tazawa, a hard-throwing righthanded pitcher, because they insist it is long-established practice for amateurs like him to be strictly off-limits to major-league clubs. Even some U.S. general managers, including the Yankees’ Brian Cashman, agree.

    The Yankees’ Cashman was unequivocal.

    “I’m old school — there has been an understanding,” said Cashman, whose team has a formal cooperative relationship with the Yomiuri Giants, a team particularly upset with the Tazawa affair. “There’s been a reason that Japanese amateurs haven’t been signed in the past, so we consider him hands-off.”

    Next, the Red Sox view on this, via mlb.com -

    The Red Sox, already the beneficiaries of significant success from Daisuke Matsuzaka and Hideki Okajima, are in the process of trying to land a third potential impact pitcher from Japan.
    The Web site for Japanese newspaper Sankei Sports is reporting that the Boston Red Sox have made a $6 million contract offer to right-handed pitcher Junichi Tazawa.

    The report indicated that the 22-year-old Tazawa met with Craig Shipley, the Red Sox’s vice president of international scouting, for nearly two hours.

    The Red Sox, as is their standard policy when it comes to free-agent negotiations, international or otherwise, chose not to comment on the report.

    Somebody’s doing the right thing here – and someone else is not. And, someone is going to benefit from their call here – and someone else is not. However, there’s no way to tell, yet, who’s doing the right thing or who’s going to benefit from their call. This one still has a ways to unfold…

    Comments on Yankees & Bosox Disagree On Junichi Tazawa

    1. Raf
      November 23rd, 2008 | 11:17 pm

      However, there’s no way to tell, yet, who’s doing the right thing
      ——
      Depends on your POV, and whether you believe in the spirit or letter of the law :)

    2. AndrewYF
      November 23rd, 2008 | 11:55 pm

      I hope that this kind of thing further leads to an international draft.

      And, given the Yankees’ continued success with obtaining international talent, I’m betting Cashman is hoping the exact opposite.

    3. jane
      November 24th, 2008 | 12:07 am

      What’s to decide? The Red Sox are acting skanky. Normally I’d want Cashman to pursue every option, but I’m glad he’s old school on this.

    4. butchie22
      November 24th, 2008 | 10:01 am

      Spirit or letter of the law? It’s neither. Nothing is preventing the Pox from signing him , so be it. If it makes their club stronger then they’ve made a good move. Cash Man being old skool is laughable since the Yankees pay over slot illegally for draft picks all the time. He’s not acting old skool when he does that so let’s stop with any potential Yankee moral edge.

    5. Raf
      November 24th, 2008 | 10:27 am

      Cash Man being old skool is laughable since the Yankees pay over slot illegally for draft picks all the time.
      ——
      One has nothing to do with the other. There’s a “gentleman’s agreement” that MLB has with NPB (two professional leagues). Amateur players are off limits.

    6. Raf
      November 24th, 2008 | 10:32 am

      Also, it could be argued that if the Yankees are paying over slot, given some of the shenanigans they’ve pulled in the past WRT amateur talent, Cashman would be keeping in line with tradition :)

    7. OnceIWasAYankeeFan
      November 24th, 2008 | 11:24 am

      I’d criticize the Sox for doing this if they were the only team talking to this guy, but they aren’t. And you’re also talking about a player who specifically asked the Japanese professional teams not to draft him, and they didn’t. In some ways he’s the Curt Flood, or could be, of Japanese baseball. He wants to play in the U.S., why should he be prevented?

      As to whether he would ever be a difference maker, I’m very much of the “buyer beware” school. You’re talking about a guy who is excelling in the “corporate league”. If the pro leagues are AAA, what is the corporate league?

    8. Raf
      November 24th, 2008 | 11:44 am

      He allegedly has a 97mph fastball, he’ll get more than a passing interest from MLB clubs.

      An interesting point is brought up in the article; what if NPB were to go after college players? How feasible would it be that a D1 player would go to Japan?

      It’s a hell of an adjustment to make, but one I would try if I were playing in college. I wonder if it would be a quicker path to MLB?

    9. OnceIWasAYankeeFan
      November 24th, 2008 | 12:29 pm

      The Globe or Herald is reporting that his fastball isn’t close to that speed, much more Hughes-like. ;)

      I don’t think a “free market” in amateur players would work in Japan’s favor. Those teams don’t offer the kind of signing bonuses MLB teams do, so I can’t imagine a lot of players going that direction. The obvious risk to the Japanese league is that their best players will go for the bucks in America first.

    10. butchie22
      November 24th, 2008 | 1:16 pm

      My point stands. The Yanks have a gentle’s agreement with the other MLB teams that they won’t illegally pay over slot so what do they do? Break that rule in their own backyard BUT play the morality police when it comes to the Japanese league. What the f….! The Yanks are not on a higher moral plane than any other team so Cash Man should should up.

      Let the Pox, the Redbirds or Blackbirds or whoever wants this kid to take ‘im. It’s about time that someone else gets a stinker(their own Igawa).

    11. Rich M
      November 24th, 2008 | 1:23 pm

      Jim Allen, a reporter based in Japan has a scouting report on Espn.com

      http://tinyurl.com/5plwfp

      “At 22, Tazawa is unlikely to throw much harder than he does now; his fastball barely tops 90 mph when he is rested, and he struggled to hit 88 mph at the end of last season.

      In Class A or Double-A, Tazawa likely will get hit harder and harder as the season wears on.”

    12. OnceIWasAYankeeFan
      November 24th, 2008 | 1:49 pm

      That’s not the kind of scouting report that would get Theo to make a major league offer for several million dollars on. You can find guys like that in the 30th round of the Draft.

    13. Raf
      November 24th, 2008 | 2:34 pm

      My point stands. The Yanks have a gentle’s agreement with the other MLB teams that they won’t illegally pay over slot so what do they do? Break that rule in their own backyard BUT play the morality police when it comes to the Japanese league.
      ================
      I think you need to research the history of the MLB draft. Teams have always found ways around the rules, and as a matter of fact the draft was implemented to give the “lesser” teams (for lack of a better term) a level playing ground because they could not compete with the larger market teams.

      And going over slot for a draft pick isn’t illegal.

      And the point still stands that one has nothing to do with the other.

    14. Raf
      November 24th, 2008 | 2:48 pm

      I don’t think a “free market” in amateur players would work in Japan’s favor. Those teams don’t offer the kind of signing bonuses MLB teams do, so I can’t imagine a lot of players going that direction.
      —————-
      I guess it depends on the case of the player. The article mentions that the Blue Wave went after Mark Schramek, who was selected by the Reds (and should be noted, eventually signed with them).

      While I can’t see Japan sending scouts over to the US to scout college players, I can see maybe an agent selling a player on NPB for a comparable amount if they can’t agree to a MLB club’s offer.

    15. butchie22
      November 24th, 2008 | 3:08 pm

      Raf, you’re missing the point. One thing has precisely to do with another. Cash Man plays Mr Moral whenit comes to the Japan thing and will pay through the mose for a draft pick, which I believe is not supposed to be done in MLB with the great regularity that the Yankees do it. It’s not that they are the only team doing it, they are the worse offenders of it by far. IN essence, he doesn’t want to offend the Japanese BUT he doesn’t give a crap about abiding by the rules that govern MLB. It’s as simple as that. BUT your colors as a habitual contarian are showing through big time BTW……..

      The Red Sox should try to get this kid if they want him, they’ve had success with ywo Japanese pitchers recently and they have rings to show for it. The Tankees, let’s just say that they have had very bad luck with Japanese pitchers with Igawa making Pavano look like a good signing.

    16. Raf
      November 24th, 2008 | 3:12 pm

      It’s not that they (The Yankees) are the only team doing it, they are the worse offenders of it by far.
      ————
      I’m going to have to call you on this one. Prove it.

    17. Raf
      November 24th, 2008 | 3:18 pm

      And to clarify, paying “too much” FOR YOUR OWN DRAFT PICK has nothing to do with pursuing a pool of players that has supposedly been “off limits.” Has nothing to do with morals either since there is nothing wrong with paying a player “over slot.”

    18. Evan3457
      November 24th, 2008 | 6:43 pm

      You know, the Japanese Baseball teams are not covered by the MLBPA Basic Agreement.

      So, if I were them, I would target the high draft picks of teams who poach on Japanese amateur players. All it would take is a couple of screwed up negotiations, where a team or two winds up paying twice what it thought it would for a 2nd or 3rd round pick, and that should bring the poaching to a rapid halt.

      After all, they can’t be charged with tampering or collusion, now, can they? And the MLBPA is certainly not going to object, now, is it?

    19. Raf
      November 24th, 2008 | 10:11 pm

      Given the finances of some NPB clubs, I can’t see them offering some of the bonuses that ML clubs offer their draft picks. Also clubs can offer ML deals

      But it would be interesting to see a first rounder go to Japan and establish himself there.

      And I think the MLBPA would have something to say if only because they’re losing a potential client so to speak.

    20. rickdunbar
      November 25th, 2008 | 5:01 am

      brian Cashman old school pleaaaase. i have it on good authrority the only reason Cashman wasnt in on the Tazawa deal was because he was out scouted, his scouts didnt even know Tazawa existed, this is why they didnt try to sign him, they didnt know who he was. Craig Shipley and John Deeble, have beaten the yankees again, Matsuzaka followed by okajima and now Tazawa.

      come clean cashman and tell people the real reason your club didnt try to sign Tazawa

    21. Raf
      November 25th, 2008 | 10:42 am

      come clean cashman and tell people the real reason your club didnt try to sign Tazawa
      ———–
      Because he’s trying to sign Yu Darvish?

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