Shohei Otani to sign with major league team

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Shohei Otani, an 18-year-old right-hander, was expected to be one of the top picks in Thursday’s Nippon Professional Baseball Draft. But he has suddenly decided to take a different route.

According to the AP, via NBCSports.com, Otani “will pursue a career in Major League Baseball instead of turning professional in Japan.” He has already caught the attention of scouts from several major league teams, including the Red Sox and the Dodgers.

The 6-foot-4 starting pitching prospect will naturally draw comparisons this winter to the Rangers’ Yu Darvish, but he actually throws harder. Otani was clocked this summer between 99 and 100 mph, though his command reportedly needs work.

“I think I will start in the minor leagues but I want to challenge in the majors,” Otani told the Japanese media on Sunday. “It’s been my dream since entering high school.” He would be the first player to ever jump from a Japanese high school to the professional ranks in the United States.

Tigers sign Austin Romine to one-year, $4.1 million deal

Austin Romine
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The Tigers and free agent catcher Austin Romine have agreed to a one-year contract, Chris McCosky of the Detroit News reports. WFAN’s Sweeny Murti specifies that the deal is for $4.1 million.

Romine, 31, has been in the league for eight seasons, all with the Yankees. Across 1,116 trips to the plate, he has hit .239/.281/.366. However, Romine is well-regarded for his defense and game-calling abilities.

Romine will slot in as the full-time catcher for the rebuilding Tigers. They’ll have Jake Rogers and Grayson Greiner behind him.