Shohei Otani has hired a U.S. agent

Getty Images

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.

Bogaerts reportedly heading to the Padres for 11 years, $280 million

xander bogaerts
Paul Rutherford/USA TODAY Sports

SAN DIEGO — The San Diego Padres and Xander Bogaerts agreed to a blockbuster $280 million, 11-year contract Wednesday night, adding the All-Star slugger to an already deep lineup.

A person familiar with the negotiations confirmed the contract to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because it was pending a physical.

The Padres already had Fernando Tatis Jr. at shortstop, but he missed the entire season because of injuries and an 80-game suspension for testing positive for a performance-enhancing drug.

San Diego also met with Aaron Judge and Trea Turner before the big stars opted for different teams. The Padres reached the NL Championship Series this year before losing to the Phillies.

“From our standpoint, you want to explore and make sure we’re looking at every possible opportunity to get better,” general manager A.J. Preller said before the Bogaerts deal surfaced. “We’ve got a real desire to win and do it for a long time.”

The 30-year-old Bogaerts was one of the headliners in a stellar group of free-agent shortstops that also included Turner, Carlos Correa and Dansby Swanson.

Bogaerts, who’s from Aruba, terminated his $120 million, six-year contract with Boston after the season. The four-time All-Star forfeited salaries of $20 million for each of the next three years after hitting .307 with 15 homers and 73 RBIs in 150 games.

Bogaerts is a .292 hitter with 156 homers and 683 RBIs in 10 big league seasons – all with Boston. He helped the Red Sox win the World Series in 2013 and 2018.

Bogaerts becomes the latest veteran hitter to depart Boston after the Red Sox traded Mookie Betts to the Los Angeles Dodgers in February 2020. Rafael Devers has one more year of arbitration eligibility before he can hit the market.

Bogaerts had his best big league season in 2019, batting .309 with a career-best 33 homers and 117 RBIs. He had 23 homers and 103 RBIs in 2018.

In 44 postseason games, Bogaerts is a .231 hitter with five homers and 16 RBIs.