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Shohei Otani has hired a U.S. agent

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Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times reports that Japanese star Shohei Otani has chosen CAA to represent him in the United States.

This is significant in that, while Otani had voiced his intention to come to the majors next year, his lack of a U.S. agent suggested that he was not yet fully committed to the plan. Which would be understandable given the financial incentives involved. If he comes next year or in 2019, he’ll be subject to international bonus limitations, which would pay him a fraction of what he’d be worth on the open market. If he waits two more years, he’d not be subject to it. Hiring CAA, however, suggests that he’s planning to make the move now.

There are still some hurdles to jump before Otani can make his way to a U.S. team. Most notably the need for the majors and NPB to work out the details of a new posting system, given that the previous posting system has expired. Assuming that gets taken care of, baseball’s most notable dual threat — Otani is an ace pitcher and an elite slugger — will be on his way to a ballpark near you.

Colby Rasmus signs a minor league deal with the Orioles

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Mark Feinsand of MLB.com reports that Colby Rasmus has agreed to a minor league deal with the Baltimore Orioles.

Rasmus, 31, played only 37 games with the Rays last year. The reason: the previous offseason he underwent surgery to repair his left hip labrum and his core muscle, and the hip continued to bother him throughout spring training. He began the season on the disabled list and made his debut on May 2, hitting .281/.318/.579 in 129 plate appearances before going back on the DL June 23. He’d never return, “stepping away” from the game in the words of the club, which placed him on the restricted list for the remainder of the season.