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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.

Report: Momentum in talks between Mariners, Jon Jay

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MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand reports that there is some momentum in talks between the Mariners and free agent outfielder Jon Jay.

Jay, 32, hit .296/.374/.375 in 433 plate appearances with the Cubs last season, which is adequate. He’s heralded more for his defense and his ability to play all three outfield spots.

The Mariners are losing center fielder Jarrod Dyson to free agency and likely don’t want to rely on Guillermo Heredia next season, hence the interest in Jay. The free agent class for center fielders is otherwise relatively weak.