http://www.espn.com/mlb/story/...an-deal?platform=amp

Nineteen-year-old pitcher Carter Stewart is in agreement with the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks of the Japanese Pacific League on a six-year contract worth more than $7 million, a groundbreaking deal that could have long-term ramifications for Major League Baseball's amateur and professional sides, sources told ESPN. 

Stewart, who was chosen by the Atlanta Braves with the eighth pick in the 2018 draft out of a Florida high school but did not sign after they reduced their signing-bonus offer due to an alleged injury, was expected to be chosen in the early second round of this June's draft. By signing with Fukuoka, which has won four of the past five Japan Series, Stewart would guarantee himself significantly more money than he would have made with a major league organization -- and could theoretically join the major leagues as a 25-year-old free agent.

The deal, first reported by The Athletic, is expected to be finalized at the end of the month, according to sources. The 6-foot-6 Stewart, whose fastball sits in the mid-90s and curveball has spun at an elite 3,000 RPMs, would be the first American amateur to join a Japanese team on a long-term deal. Unlike Brandon Jennings and other basketball players who have avoided the NBA's early-entry rule by taking a gap year abroad, Stewart would be committed to the Hawks through the cusp of his 25th birthday.

The contract includes escalators that could take it beyond the $7 million-plus guaranteed. Had he opted to stay in the United States, Stewart likely would have received a bonus of less than $2 million and made even less over the next six years, barring a rapid ascent to the major leagues.

The secondary benefit for Stewart could be even more lucrative: International free agents 25 or older can sign with any major league team without restrictions, so long as their Japanese team enters them into the posting system. Were Stewart to play in Japan for the next six years, sources told ESPN, he would be considered, under the present rules, an international free agent eligible for posting.

Although the limit of four foreign players per Japanese team could stem an influx of American players, elite amateur talent could begin to use the prospect of going to Japan -- not just for the greater guarantee in money but the earlier access to free agency -- as a cudgel in negotiations.

Stewart's agent, Scott Boras, has long tried to use the prospect of taking an amateur player to Japan for leverage purposes. Never until Stewart had one come close to agreeing to a deal. Boras, who has exploited multiple draft loopholes in the past, opted for a 7,500-mile end-around with Stewart.

Stewart is in Japan now and is expected to join a minor league affiliate of the Hawks upon the completion of his deal. At Eastern Florida State College, the junior college where he pitched this spring, Stewart went 2-2 with a 1.70 ERA in 74 1/3 innings and struck out 108.

** The dream is free. Work ethic sold separately. **

Original Post
old_school posted:

A 19 year old kid living in Japan with all of the cultural differences and lack of life experience will be an interesting challenge. Maybe this will work out great for him but I think it is a long long way from sure thing. 

But if my kid is offered $7 million to go to Japan, WE will be on a plane tomorrow.  I think in the right situation it will work because either the club would hire someone to take care of him or his family will move there to help with the transition.

This is going to get interesting.  Up until now the only competition that the MLB draft had was college, so with a chance to make $$ millions instead of MiLB salary there's a compelling alternative, particularly for rounds 2-5 which don't have great slot values.  It seems so obvious now, I'm surprised this hasn't been done before.

 

Scott Boras thought of it several years ago. None of his clients were willing to give it a shot until now.

But consider how hard it is for a teen to head for short season A ball in East Bumblefart. Think about being out of his element and lonely. This involves being in a strange culture, not speaking the language and too far from home to be visited. 

It’s essentially an American doing what the Caribbean players have been doing all along. Hopefully he gets into a host home.

I wonder if this would work with independent teams. Assuming they could get some big time financial backing and decide they want to sign the top high schoolers and college guys to 4 year contracts for a pretty penny. The way it is currently structured would not work but if they went to investors and said we want the top guys we need ______, could get the ball rolling. 

I don't know the background but I had same thoughts as RJM.  A 19 y.o. kid going to a foreign country where English is not the first language, food and culture is WAY different, leaving all friends and relatives behind AND THIS IS A SIX YEAR COMMITMENT !!  I sure don't see this as the slam dunk easy decision that others imply.

PABaseball posted:

I wonder if this would work with independent teams. Assuming they could get some big time financial backing and decide they want to sign the top high schoolers and college guys to 4 year contracts for a pretty penny. The way it is currently structured would not work but if they went to investors and said we want the top guys we need ______, could get the ball rolling. 

Currently Indy ball is a poor investment mostly due to having to pay player salaries and inability to promote seeing the stars of tomorrow. Big salaries would be a poor investment on future returns. Every team would have to have several future potential MLBers for it to possibly work.

The model for making money owning minor league teams is finding undervalued single A, full season teams. They cost the least to purchase for full season teams. They become undervalued due to poor marketing, poor radio coverage and poor community relationships.

Several years ago I read an prospectus for investing in a group purchasing undervalued minor league franchises. It was very interesting. 

PABaseball posted:

They have their problems. It would take a lot of money and a some big names to get involved to create buzz and excitement. A long shot, but if they decided to pour money into one league it might be something worth watching. 

I doubt MLB wants a bunch of studs becoming free agents at twenty-five.

Our American HS teams have traveled and hosted the Japan National teams for 17 years. Scott has on his staff one of our former players as a "Super Agent" who traveled on our 1st trip in 1984. Dennis Sarfate, former MLB is a Pitcher on the "Softbank" team.

The young man will be prepared to make adjustments.

The umpires will have a "narrow" strike zone when the young man pitches. The average umpire is 5'4 and a 6'6" pitcher will experience difficulty pitching from "flat" ground [no mounds]. I would envision a possible trade in 2 years for MLB team.

This will be a "great experience" for the young man. Maybe a reverse Movie from "Mr Baseball" with Tom Sellick.

Bob

Goodwill Series Inc.

PABaseball posted:

They have their problems. It would take a lot of money and a some big names to get involved to create buzz and excitement. A long shot, but if they decided to pour money into one league it might be something worth watching. 

People who have money don't pour it into things that aren't going to pour more money. this idea is a fail on the business model IMO. 

old_school posted:
PABaseball posted:

They have their problems. It would take a lot of money and a some big names to get involved to create buzz and excitement. A long shot, but if they decided to pour money into one league it might be something worth watching. 

People who have money don't pour it into things that aren't going to pour more money. this idea is a fail on the business model IMO. 

I don't disagree, but if the structure of rookie and minor league contracts does not change with the next CBA then you can expect there to be some interest from young talented players to avoid the minors altogether. A three year 2 million dollar contract is better than getting drafted in the second round and making $1300 a month. 

Not something I'd necessarily advise investing in, but I would definitely watch. 

Consultant posted:

Our American HS teams have traveled and hosted the Japan National teams for 17 years. Scott has on his staff one of our former players as a "Super Agent" who traveled on our 1st trip in 1984. Dennis Sarfate, former MLB is a Pitcher on the "Softbank" team.

The young man will be prepared to make adjustments.

The umpires will have a "narrow" strike zone when the young man pitches. The average umpire is 5'4 and a 6'6" pitcher will experience difficulty pitching from "flat" ground [no mounds]. I would envision a possible trade in 2 years for MLB team.

This will be a "great experience" for the young man. Maybe a reverse Movie from "Mr Baseball" with Tom Sellick.

Bob

Goodwill Series Inc.

Having been given the opportunity via Bob's Goodwill Series to witness Japan's universal love and passion for baseball, I can think of worse places for a young man to begin his professional baseball career.

Honestly, if this was my kid I wouldn't think twice about it.  I like the signing and thinking outside the box.  This is professional baseball...this is what he wants to make a living at.   $7M is a nice safety net that his club has invested in him, and he's still young.

My sons have been able to play in Japan the last several years with a barnstorming team made up of both American and Japanese collegiate players. Each summer they’ve wished they could stay longer and they’re not getting paid. The food is awesome, the beer is great, and the Japanese ball players are just as knuckleheaded as ours are.

Plus there’s this to enjoy:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=kPLNO4WfFJw

 

and don’t forget this!

https://whatstrending.com/vira...baseball-skills/amp/

If I was on the mound in high school my coach wouldn’t have to tell me to do anything. On 0-2 or 1-2 I’d have his on his arse. Otherwise he would be picking a ball out of his ear hole. Then after whiffing him I’d tell him, “Grab some bench %&@+#$!”

I had my moments on the mound that had me called into the principal’s office to be reminded I represent the school. The amusing time was when I was at an ISL (private). The English headmaster called me into the office. I almost bit through my lip to keep from laughing when told I placed too much emphasis on sports and girls. imagine that! A teen boy interested in sports and girls.

In American high schools where I’ve been the band can’t play as soon as action is about to start (pitcher on the rubber, offense come to the line of scrimmage, basketball in bounds, puck dropped in hockey).

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