The Los Angeles Dodgers commitment the past few years to replenishing their farm system has included spending on marquee international free agents. They were particularly aggressive during the 2015-16 international signing period and easily exceeded their bonus pool allotment.
That came with a spending cap for the next year’s international signing period, though new guidelines under the current CBA are what’s truly handcuffed the Dodgers and other large market teams.
The domino effect figures to impact Shohei Otani should he make the jump from Japan to the Majors following this season.
Nonetheless, Los Angeles recently had scouts watch Otani, who is currently on the disabled list, as relayed by Ken Gurnick of MLB.com:
LAD scouts Jon Deeble and Yogo Suzuki checked out Japan two-way sensation Shohei Otani on Friday, according to Japanese media reports.
— Ken Gurnick (@kengurnick) May 28, 2017
Dodgers director of player personnel Galen Carr has also scouted Otani on multiple occasions of late, as noted by Dylan Hernandez of the L.A. Times:
Dodgers scout Galen Carr watched Shohei Ohtani rehab for 3rd consecutive day. Ohtani hit 3 balls out of stadium in BP. https://t.co/2KMHSEaMIx
— Dylan Hernandez (@dylanohernandez) May 28, 2017
The 22-year-old has 11 hits, including two doubles and five home runs, in 32 plate appearances over eight games this season. Last year, he batted .322/.416/.588 with 18 doubles, 22 home runs and 67 RBI.
Otani also went 10-4 with a 1.86 ERA and 0.96 WHIP in 21 games (20 starts). He’s yet to pitch this season.
Under the current CBA, there’s a $20 million cap on posting fees, and a hard cap on how much teams can spend on international players who are under the age of 25. Otani is just 22 years old.
While he’s facing limitations on a first contract with a Major League club, Otani said it is not something he’s concerned with or deterred by.