Takumi Numata signing by Dodgers now in doubt + profile of him with video

TakumiNumata

The Dodgers signed 19-year-old Japanese pitcher Takumi Numata last week, which was seen as a bit odd because he was an unknown in Japan.

Nevertheless, the deal was considered done and he would report to the instructional league in the fall with the Dodgers. Unfortunately, his signing is now in question due to Numata allegedly not going through the appropriate Japan Amateur Baseball Association (JABA) channels.

The Japan Amateur Baseball Association (JABA) announced on Tuesday that Numata did not go through the necessary channels before sitting down with the Dodgers — he did not get permission from his team, the Edion Aichi Kogyo Daigaku OB Blitz (Industrial League club team), and was never removed from the Industrial League player registry.

The JABA is planning to hold a meeting to discuss what course of action should be taken.

A JABA official said, “It is extremely regrettable that [an MLB team] signed a contract with a player that cannot be drafted by an NPB team and never had paperwork filed to take him off the registry.”

NPB teams are not allowed to draft players that joined Industrial League teams out high school for three years and two years for all other cases. Numata is off limits for two years, beginning this year, since this was his first year with with Edion Aichi Kogyo Daigaku OB Blitz — he graduated high school in 2011, went to university in 2012 and dropped out after a year, joined Blitz in 2013

There are three main problems:

Negotiations took place during the season without approval from Edion’s manager
The player was signed despite never being taken off the registry
The player did not serve the required two years with the Industrial League team he joined

The MLB reportedly contacted the NPB about Numata and was told he would not be available until the fall of 2014. The JABA told the media that Edion never know contract negotiations took place.

So based on the Japanese reports, Numata is in trouble on multiple fronts with JABA and NPB. However, technically, I don’t believe there’s anything stopping him from going overseas, as it seems like it’s just an unwritten agreement between MLB/NPB not to do stuff like this.

So while the Dodgers could just do this, I doubt the MLB wants to wreck havoc with the NPB with the posting system negotiations ongoing, and I doubt the Dodgers want to wreck their deep roots in Japan, especially over a player with a relief profile. As such, I’m pessimistic about this getting done as is, though there’s always a chance JABA/NPB loosen their stance or some compensation gets worked out.

This could end up being the third tease the Dodgers eventually lose out on this year alone, with Shohei Otani choosing Japan, Numata’s deal now in limbo, and Alexander Guerrero opening up bidding again.

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As far as why the Dodgers want this relatively unknown teenager, Kazuto Yamazaki provides insight via Jonathan Mayo:

At 6-1, 188 pounds (that’s according to the release), it doesn’t sound like there’s that much physical projection to look for. His fastball sits in the upper 80s to low 90s, according to the report, topping out at 92 mph. He goes right after hitters with it and largely pitches off of his fastball, though he also has a slider. Here’s some brief video:

As I said earlier, based on the reports I would put a relief profile on him, which makes sense since I doubt he signed for a ton of cash. Still, a quality arm is a quality arm, and I’d rather have him the system than not. For now, though, we’re forced to wait and see.

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