In this July 16 entry, we talked about the four categories that MLB’s 30 clubs occupy with regard to spending limits on the J2 class (that is, international free agents younger than 25) for the 12-month period that opened on July 2, 2017.
Generally speaking, these are the groups:
Clubs that exceeded international spending cap in 2015–16 or 2016–17:
Braves, Cubs, White Sox, Reds, Astros, Royals, Dodgers, A’s, Cardinals, Padres, Giants, Nationals
Small-market clubs with lowest revenue/winning percentage value who are not barred:
Diamondbacks, Orioles, Indians, Rockies, Pirates
Small-market clubs with not-quite-as-low revenue/winning percentage value who are not barred:
Marlins, Brewers, Twins, Rays
All other clubs:
Rangers, Red Sox, Tigers, Angels, Mets, Yankees, Phillies, Mariners, Blue Jays
Also in that July 16 report (whose article ID is divisible by 11), I ran down some of the big expenditures that clubs like Boston, Tampa Bay, Minnesota, and a handful of others had already made signing current J2’s, drawing down whatever their bonus pool was. There isn’t a resource (as far as I’m aware of, at least) that tracks J2 signings, so we’re left to pick up on reports here and there regarding players agreeing to terms.
There’s also no resource I know of that keeps official tabs on how much added pool space clubs have traded for.
We do know that the Rangers traded Class A shortstop Yeyson Yrizarri to the White Sox in July for an undisclosed amount of Chicago’s pool allotment — note above that the Sox can’t spend this summer anyway, so it was an asset of little use to them other than to flip for prospects — and that in August the Rangers acquired $500,000 in pool space from Baltimore (who could spend internationally . . . but almost never do) for Class A second baseman Brallan Perez.
We don’t know how much Texas got from the White Sox, though, or whether there have been other Rangers trades for pool space, or where between $4.75 million and $8.3125 million their bonus pool sits as a result.
We also don’t know how much more than $4.5 million the Rangers have already spent on J2 players these last two-and-a-half months, and without knowing how big they’ve built their pool or how much they’ve drawn it down, we don’t know what’s left to allocate, for instance, toward righthander Shohei Otani when Nippon Ham (very likely) posts him this off-season.
But Ronald Blum (AP) and Jesse Sanchez (MLB.com) evidently do.
Blum reported last week that, “[a]s of now, the most Otani could get this offseason would be a $3,535,000 signing bonus from Texas or $3.25 million from the Yankees.”
That number presumes that the Rangers have boosted their pool to that $8,312,500 limit or very close to it (if, based on Baseball America and other sources, they’ve indeed spent more than $4.5 million on 2017–18 J2 players, and have $3,535,000 left, as Blum reports).
Two notable things about the Blum story:
A few hundred thousand dollars here and there are not going to matter to Otani. If money were a factor, he’d spend another two seasons in Japan and then, at age 25, be eligible for a nine-figure MLB bidding war (especially since MLB has already made it clear that it won’t sign off on a discreet agreement by his signing club to give Otani a massive extension after his rights have been acquired). He’s not going to choose his organization based on whether they can pay him a signing bonus of $3.5 million or $1.5 million.
It’s going to be more important that he’d have an opportunity to hit (presumably giving American League teams an edge, as he could conceivably DH two or three times between starts on the mound) and that he feels comfortable with the team and the environment, and maybe the franchise who brought Otani’s hero stateside nearly six years ago and suited him up in the 11 that he’d worn for the Fighters and that Otani wears now scores well there, whether or not it has the most J2 money to spend.
The Dodgers are in Philadelphia right now. A Rangers fan who lives there ran into Yu Darvish yesterday. He was wearing a Rangers cap.
(The fan. Not Darvish.)
And when Darvish saw the Rangers fan in the Rangers cap, he apparently said: “Texas!”
(Darvish. Not the fan.)
Incidentally, I don’t follow that Rangers fan on Twitter.
I saw his tweet because Yu Darvish retweeted it.
Darvish wears 21 for the Dodgers, because Logan Forsythe wears 11.
I don’t know if he misses number 11, or if he misses Texas, or if any of that matters since he’s going to get paid an insane amount this winter (in a free agent market that features Jake Arrieta and not much else in terms of front-of-rotation types), his current scuffles notwithstanding, and since his return could be cost-prohibitive, given how much else the Rangers need to do this winter.
Speaking of which, I might write something soon about Rays ace Chris Archer, whose Tampa Bay jersey has a 22 on the back and likely will for four more years, save for the likelihood that he’s not going to be in Tampa Bay for four more years.
But we’ll talk about 22 another time.
For the moment, I just wanted to talk a little bit about two 11’s.