Japan to ban players who opt for MLB first

This report from ESPN notes that Japanese baseball will institute a 3-year ban on players who forego the Japanese amateur draft to negotiate with MLB teams. This is in response to Junichi Tazawa, who announced a while back that he intended to play in the US and asked Japanese professional teams not to draft him.

I’m not sure how much of a deterrent this is, except to players who might come over and flop here. They would then have little recourse but to play in the Minor Leagues here until their ban period ended. If you’re kind of a fringe player who might not make it here, this measure works. But then, you’re probably not being recruited that highly from MLB teams in that case. So what does this really accomplish?

In any event, Tazawa’s case is starting to strain MLB-Japan relations, so we’ll see what happens. Japanese team owners may not be as willing to let players post in the future, if this trend continues.


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