When the Takumi Numata signing last left off, the validity of his deal with the Dodgers was in question due to the circumstances around his signing, and the Japan Amateur Baseball Association (JABA) was not pleased.
Late yesterday, JABA banned Numata for life, suspended the director of Numata’s team (Edion of the Industrial League), and filed a request to the NPB.
The Japan Amateur Baseball Association announced today that they issued a lifetime ban on Takumi Numata for signing a contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers without following required procedure. Edion director was given a six month suspension, beginning on September 24, for poor handling of the situation.
Additionally, the JABA has asked the NPB to submit a request to the MLB asking them to observe the order in which they try to acquire amateur players. The JABA has also contacted Industrial League teams and club teams to make sure they continue to follow the rules as well.
-The JABA issued the strongest possible penalty because there were no prior similar cases and as an attempt to prevent future cases.
-The JABA is required to remove players from their registry before they sign contracts with professional teams to avoid have them registered as both amateurs and professionals.
-In past cases where JABA players signed with MLB teams, players were properly removed from the registry before signing contracts.
-The JABA has not been able to speak directly to Numata, so they are not sure if he understood the rules. His team has informed JABA officials that they were never informed about his talks with an MLB team and contract. Teams are supposed to be contacted for approval before negotiations can begin.
-It is highly unlikely that the scout that signed Numata did not know the rules.
-The JABA does not want this to become a precedent. They want both players and teams to follow the rules accordingly.
So basically, Numata circumvented the rules, and the Dodger scout who signed him, likely knowing the rules full well, went ahead with negotiations behind their back anyway.
That is not making anybody very happy, as they bypassed his team, JABA, and the handshake agreement with the NPB.
-When Edion learned the Dodgers submitted a player status check, the manager of tried to reason with Numata, but he was already set on signing with the MLB team. It seems there may have been indications that the player was tampered with before the status check was filed.
-There are questions why the scout that signed Numata used a questionable approach to sign a player that broke the gentlemen’s agreement between the NPB and MLB despite being in the business for fifteen years and knowing exactly how things are between the two leagues.
The person negotiating with the Dodgers was apparently Numata’s father, who took responsibility.
Numata’s father, Seiya (聖也), spoke to reporters and said that there were misunderstandings and that the penalty was unfortunate. He also said that he negotiated with the Dodgers on his son’s behalf and that he was sorry for the trouble he caused the JABA and the Dodgers.
Numata is currently working out in Japan and is preparing to attend the Dodgers Instructional League in Arizona in October.
So as of now, Numata looks to be Dodger property, but I do still wonder if that will change down the road.
Numata himself, however, is not my concern. My concern is that the Dodgers’ relationship with Japan and the NPB might be strained due to breaking the handshake agreement, especially doing so in the middle of MLB’s negotiations with the NPB over the posting system.
Dan of MyKBO brought up the case of the Orioles and Seong Min Kim:
@ChadMoriyama MLB got involved with the Kim case, Orioles never ended up signing him. Wonder what's next in this case…
— Dan (@MyKBO) September 26, 2013
In that case, Kim wasn’t allowed to sign with the Orioles and their scouts were blacklisted in Korea.
I realize that the situation in Japan is different, but depending on how much the NPB wants to lean on the MLB over this, the same could potentially happen. Hopefully Ned Colletti doesn’t do what Dan Duquette did, which was basically tell the KBO, “Who gives a shit?” That went over … not well.
Worst case scenario in my mind is that Dodgers get blacklisted from scouting actual big-ticket talent (Yu Darvish/Masahiro Tanaka) … over a raw 19-year-old with a 90 mph arm. I doubt that happens, but I’m not sure why the team decided to risk it, unless there’s something that is yet to be said from the Dodgers’ side of things.