The 2024 international signing period runs through December 15, and major league teams have a hard cap of signing bonuses, all well under $10 million in total, for these amateur players. Japanese sensation Roki Sasaki would be the biggest prize of the year or perhaps next January 15 when the 2025 international period opens.
That’s if the 22-year-old Sasaki even gets posted by the Chiba Lotte Marines. Sasaki coming to the United States before turning 25 would severely limit his earning power, since he’d be subject to the international spending limits. But his desire to pitch in MLB remains strong. But in signing his contract for 2024 with Lotte, Sasaki did not tip his hand whether this will be his final season in Japan.
“I have the desire to play in the U.S. major leagues in the future,” Sasaki said during a news conference Saturday, according to the Kyodo news agency. “I’ve been communicating every year. I believe the club understands it too.”
Asked when he would play in MLB, Kyodo reported Sasaki saying very little: “I believe it’s important to play well in the season that’s right in front of me.”
Michael Ajeto at Baseball Prospectus analyzed the Dodgers’ signing of James Paxton, and what the left-hander adds to the rotation. Paxton in his first season back from Tommy John surgery found his fastball but not his breaking balls, something to watch with Los Angeles.
“When he’s healthy, Paxton is still very, very good, even without his best secondaries,” Ajeto wrote. “Can he stay healthy? History says it’s unlikely, but he’s in a rotation that has the firepower to make it a less dire situation than others.”
Mike Petriello at MLB.com dove deep into how starting pitchers are regarding by Hall of Fame voters, and how standards might evolve going forward with rotation usage changing in the modern game. As Petriello astutely notes, the BBWAA voters have adjusted before, though it took some time after five-man rotations became the norm rather than four.
“We may not be able to compare the counting stats of the best starters of 2035 to legends like Gibson or Feller, but we couldn’t compare their counting stats to their predecessors, either,” he wrote. “Life, as they say, found a way.”
- Dustin Nosler at Dodgers Digest looked into the idea of the Dodgers possibly using a six-man rotation in 2024. “There is an argument to be made that the Dodgers’ Top 5 starters all could benefit from a 6-man rotation,” he wrote.
- Juan Toribio at MLB.com previewed the Dodgers bullpen ahead of spring training.
- Bill Plunkett at the Orange County Register previewed the Dodgers catching corps, led by Will Smith.
- Chris Taylor and his wife Mary are holding a polar plunge on Sunday, February 4 at 10:30 a.m. at Manhattan Beach, to raise money for pediatric cancer patients through the CT3 Foundation. Among the Dodgers participating along with the Taylors are Mookie Betts, Freddie Freeman, Brusdar Graterol, Jason Heyward, Max Muncy, and Will Smith. More information here.