Tag Archives: MLB

MLB’s gambling “thoughts and prayers”

Although we have yet to hear the full truth about the illegal gambling that has cost Ippei Mizuhara his job as Shohei Ohtani’s factotum and interpreter, Mizuhara did give a plausible explanation for a novice’s casual drift into gambling addiction hell.

Mizuhara, who claimed he was the one responsible for running up debts to an illegal bookmaker that were paid off by transfer’s from Ohtani’s bank account, said he began betting online through DraftKings, an official MLB gambling partner.

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NPB’s silver-lining playbook

Japanese pro baseball may or may not realize it, but NPB is currently at a crossroads in its dealing with MLB and should act now to fix a system that isn’t working as well as it should for Japanese teams.

Never has the MLB market for imported Japanese talent been so high as it was this offseason, with teams handing out big contracts to two players who moved via the posting system, a record $325 million deal for Yoshinobu Yamamoto and a contract to Shota Imanaga that could be worth $80 million.

The current posting agreement with MLB includes posting fees calculated on the total value of a player’s contract, but the use of options and opt outs have allowed MLB teams to defer paying what they owe since Yusei Kikuchi signed with the Seattle Mariners ahead of the 2019 season with player and team options after the third year.

Obviously that’s a problem. NPB teams have gone from huge windfalls, to $20 million windfalls, to a fraction of the amount the player is paid with opt outs making deferred payments interest-free loans from the players’ Japanese clubs.

“I tell them, every time you sit down in New York with these people (MLB), the big leagues benefit as a league, their clubs benefit, the Japanese players benefit, and you guys (NPB) just bend over and take it. It makes me so upset.”

— NPB team executive in December 2017.

With some MLB teams believing Lotte Marines right-hander Roki Sasaki will be available via the posting system 11 months from now, the interest shows no sign of slowing. Under the current posting rules and MLB’s collective bargaining agreement with its union, the Sasaki will be treated as an international amateur only eligible to enter MLB via a minor league contract with a signing bonus constrained by MLB’s signing bonus pools.

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