RHP Thyago Vieira .. for $500K !!
Now that's what Dr. D calls 'field rates'


G-Money sez,



Mariners acquire international slot money from the White Sox in exchange for RHP Thyago Vieira


For $0.5M, according to this MLB article.  Vieira is worth more like what, $5-8M, would you say?  (Well, in normal money rather than in international money, true.)

In wars they have this term, "FIELD RATES."  I'll give ya this K-ration for 100 rounds of .223, sure.  In 40 years of baseball I've never seen "field rates" like that.  SLAP me SILLY.  Next up, Edwin Diaz for $650k in slot dinero.

10% of you did not know that Vieira is a reliever who throws 100 MPH, whose slider is advancing quickly, and who will be ready by June 2018 in the disaster scenario.  He will serve a short apprenticeship in setup and then will close for club-controls type of salary.  Most Denizens were hip to that, but SSI is (unlike Federal Way) building 'an inclusive community.'


Mo' Dawg sez


"Here Otani!  Come here Otani!  Here boy!!"

And that international cash gets us close to the top teams this year, I would suppose.

I suggested we could send Vieira to Chicago, but thought Abreu might be part of the return.  I was wrong.

If the new MLB paradigm is cold decking power bullpen arms and throwing them out in succession from the 5th inning on, Pipoto just became a contrarian of sorts, at least when searching for bigger pieces.


Key takeaway from this?  From selling Thyago Veira for 10% of his value?  That the M's like their chances on Ohtani, wouldn't you think?  Are YOU offloading Thyago Vieira for nothing, because you think you have a 1/4 chance at closing escrow?


Dr D



That's exactly what I take from it too, Doc:  "That we likes our chances."

We're still short of the big boys.  We will sell something else.

But what is weird in all this is why a million or so even matters to the Ohtani camp?  It is the rest of the contract, the really big numbers, not that first year, that makes the difference.  Am I missing something?

Bahm1's picture

With what I’ve read about Ohtani, find it really hard to believe 500k is any kind of difference maker. 



Except that Ohtani is a post guy for 2 more years, a free agent the third year ... and whichever MLB team signs him this year will cut him loose in 3 years anyway.  So Ohtani sacrifices only that salary in the 3rd year, in exchange for proving that he's a HOF talent before he hits the market.

But yeah.  This year's $2.5M vs $3.5M doesn't seem like it should matter.  To those of us who thought Thyago Vieira was an asset, though, the evidence is coming in otherwise :- )


If the Mariners like their chances at Ohtani already, they shouldn't need the slot money to get him. An extra 500k means absolutely nothing to his camp. He cares only about going where he wants to go. BELIEVE THAT.

So we handed Vieira to the White Sox for nothing and did nothing to make it more likely we land Ohtani.

I'm starting to think Dipoto has a deep and very costly blind spot for the value of prospects.

If we fail to get Ohtani, this move is a firing offense.


Hey, if he gets Ohtani, I'll calm down, but the Twins just opened up three million dollars...they're still 2.5 million ahead of us. And, more importantly, Dipoto has already shown a strong tendency to catastrophically undervalue his own prospects. It's one thing to say that you shouldn't assume a chess move is dumb, it's another to have played twenty games with a club player who's made hilariously weird blunders in almost every game and then get that next blunder-looking move and maybe assume it's probably a blunder.


Career baseball guy once told me, "there's nothing more worthless in this game than an LGP."

Of course, I bit: "Last guy's prospect."  As in, a GM always values his own talent assessment higher than his predecessor's.  

So, JD could be guilty of this--to a noticable degree.  But at least he didn't pull the plug on Zunino.  


...that it's possible Ohtani's agency is signaling teams that, although he has preferences, they can't let him sign a contract significantly lower in value than the top offer.

If that is the case, the logic of the move is there, though it still relies on us being a place he wants to play...


If money matters for some bizarre reason...we're still well sort of the Dodgers, Yankees, Red Sox, Cardinals, and especially the Twins, who just voided a three million dollar contact for failed physical results (ehem...failed being shorthand for "you're not Ohtani")


is of course different from (1) free agency money or (2) posting fees.

Each team gets only $2-4 million (or somesuch) total, to offer around and sign 16-year-old Venezuelans, of which Ohtani is effectively one.

As Bahm1 said, you wouldn't think Ohtani would care too much about $2.4M offered vs $3.8M offered -- except for one thing.  The respect factor.  That, and it ain't like a wire transfer of $1,000,000.00 is meaningless to ... anybody. 


Guess here is that Ohtani's agent has signalled that they expect the max, and the guess here is that the M's are now auctioning "anything that isn't nailed down."  :- )


B-R has us with 36 guys currently on the 40-Man.  Only 14 are positional players.  that includes (evidently) fungible Vogs, plus BU catching fodder Marjama and Frietas.

Can't believe that we leave Aplin to be gobbled up.  He will have to go on the 40-Man.  Who else?


What is going on here?  Do the Ham fighters get the money? Does Ohtani?  Does he negotiate with the highest bidder now or has that changed?  Why is there a limit on what can be spent on international players?  This is way too much stuff to follow.  Book me up on this shtick.  Thanks in advance.


(1) Here is a very concise summary of the old system.  The Nippon Pro Baseball team sets a "release fee," max $20M, and if more than one MLB team is willing to meet that fee, then it can negotiate with the player's agent on a contract.  Bidding wars for salaries could result.

IIRC correctly, Oakland once posted the fee for Iwakuma and then offered him a pittance, sending him back to Japan, so the M's wouldn't get him.


(2) They're haggling the new deal, which isn't very clear to me.  The key entities are Yomiuri and Softbank, which would rather the posting system not exist at all and so work for smaller fees; the rest of the NPB teams; the MLB; and the players' union which (I think) would like to see the posting fee be simply 15% of whatever the player can get on the FA market.

Or not ...

Taco's picture

The $20M max was/is posting system 2.0.  

When Oakland blocked the M's there was no max.  And only the team with the highest bid could negotiate with the player.  In 2.0 with the $20M max, the team with the highest bid or anyone who bid $20M was allowed to negotiate with the player.  

The international spending limits came later.  


Is the result of the current MLB collective bargaining agreement. It normally doesn't apply to posted Japanese players because they're usually over the age of 25. Players under 25 can be signed only using money within an international spending limit set by last season's place in the standings ranging from about 3 million to about 5 million dollars. Players 25 and over are unrestricted free agents and can sign for any amount. Ohtani is being impatient...he wants to play here now rather than waiting two years. And that is capping how much he can take home.

Taro's picture

I don't see how the M's can honestly sell a world series contender without getting Ohtani this offseason.

Even with him, they have a lot of work to do.

Without him its a joke. This team would need an immediate rebuild. The core is too old and expensive and the pitching is bare.

Nathan H's picture

No Ohtani means the team's chance at a World Series is a joke because the core is too old and expensive and the pitching is bare?

Couple of thoughts.

Because the core is too old does not preclude the team from competitiveness. I assume we're talking about Felix, Cano, and Cruz.

Reduced production vs. actual production: If Cano provides 3 WAR vs. the 5 WAR he's produced in the past, that's still a 3 WAR second baseman, right? That's not nothin'. Cruz and Felix can still contribute, even in a reduced capacity.

The core is too expensive: Teams can make up their own salary cap. If Seattle is constrained by simple operating logistics (self-imposed major league budget of, say, $150 mil to make the profit margin worthwhile), well, they're currently sitting at $116 mil. dedicated to 35 players. They have a theoretical $34 mil or so to spend for  this one season alone. That's not insignificant wiggle-room with which to operate.

Pitching is bare: I'm assuming we're talking about starting pitching. James Paxton is a monster, albiet injury prone. Behind him the team is about 7 deep with varying levels of health/effectiveness. The floor is fairly low with a mortal Felix, Leake, Erasmo holding down the bulk of the innings behind him and replacement level swaps taking up the rear. Yes, they could use an infusion of talent, here, but to say that this cupboard is bare is exaggerating things.

The team has a young, power prospect who finally found his sealegs at catcher, a young, cost-controlled stoploss at 1B, an aging but still effective superstar at 2B, a gold-glove star at 3B, an all-around effective 3-WAR SS, a young LF who proved to be too good for AAA and held his own in the bigs when given the opportunity, a young blossoming star in RF, an Edgar Martinez award candidate at DH, a stud SP who, when not hurt, is dominant, and an aging ex-Cy Young winner who is more prideful than most.

Teams have gone further than a playoff appearance with less.

Taro's picture

I just don't see it. Multiple analytical reasons why, but no reason really to get deep into it anymore. Mostly intuitive at this point. Just watching the playoff this year.. we're pretty far off.

Ohtani would jump start us as a a fringe world series contender, probable wild card winner, but it would only be the start. Hes pretty much mandatory if were serious about this thing.

If not, we're fooling ourselves. As a fanbase I think we all know this deep inside. I think the FO knows it, and the players know it.

The team needs to face reality head on and decide whether its 'truly' serious about building a contender, and if not it needs to make the emotional difficult decisions necesarry to build a future contender. As a fan of this team, I don't think I've ever seen the team really face this question about itself (even in their good years).


I'm sorry...I know we have some interesting assets on the books, but do yourself a favor and compare what we have to what the Astros, Indians, Cubs, Dodgers, Yankees, Red Sox, and Nationals have.

We're way...way...WAY off from that. We just are.


My caveat is simple: you blow a new competitive window in that rock wall of the decline cliff if you nab any two of Ohtani, Stanton, and Darvish.  It's not impossible they could do that, btw.  What are the odds that ANY team makes THAT big of a splash this offseason?  Remote, at best, but it's still *possible* for the team to put the pedal to the metal and make a serious run this year.

I do, however, agree that (barring an unexpected surge of productivity from young, club-controlled assets) this team is indeed headed for the cliff talent-wise.  Drastic measures are going to be needed to give them a shot at hanging with The Big Dawgs in this league right now.

The good news is that there's never been an offseason where better long-term franchise players are available.  Ohtani and Stanton EACH represents a new King Felix-sized talent pillar to whatever team they end up with.  Adding two in an offseason, even if you have to give up a guy like Paxton in the process, is a no-brainer move that rejuvenates AND solidifies the team core for the next half decade.  It's the fact that they're both no-brainer moves that makes it unlikely in the extreme that any single team will nab both of them.

Taro's picture

I agree with you jonez, although I see Ohtani as a much more siginificant addition because he doesn't require $ or talent to acquire, making him essentially free.

Hes also 23 years old, not even in his prime, and detached from money unlike any other player I've seen before.

Its a cheat code, and pretty much the only way I think the Ms can become an immediate WS contender.


That is awesome!

If Ohtani-san delivers the goods, from Safeco, that is definitely gonna be the SSI name for him :- )


Thanks to Doc and Matt for the education.  Shoot me an invoice for your time.


The are getting $500K from in Vieira deal. Prepping for an Ohtani bid? Now have $1.5575 mil to offer (M's have spent $3.9425 mil of $5.5 mil total pool)


Of course everybody will have spent some amount of their money, but I can't find a resource anywhere that lists the 30 budgets remaining.  Hopefully somebody else can?   

Here's one from Baseball America which seems to have little to do with Mayo's accounting.

The Other Billy Zoom's picture

Somehow the length of the contract he would have continued with the Ham Fighters (2 years, until he is 25) has been applied to his contract with a team in MLB.




He will get that signing bonus (probably somewhere between $2 mil and $3.5 mil from the team he selects, which is now determined, but then he becomes a regular rookie from (like most from Central America) who will only enter at League minimum, and wait for arbitration like anyone else.


So the trade of Viera for international pool money is not

Prorating 10% of Viera's value versus the amount of millions you are saving on Ohtani's contract over 6 years is miniscule.

So, DePoet tosses in $500 grand which he gets from another guy at the table for a 25% chance to take the pot.

We still don't know of Viera is gonna be a bona fide MLB star ... and I believe he might be.

But, hey, I want in for the big pot.

This article from USA Today (not a usual referral) specifies the M's are doing what they can to be in the game, and the descriptions of BabeRuth-san is rather comprehensive.

Sounds like his lifestyle fits in Seattle more than The Bronx.

Remember, finally, that our climate is more like that of Hokkaido than any other MLB city, and we have mountains with snow you can see right out the window, and fresh salmon (referenced in this article), a significant Japanese population, a history of acclimatized Japanese players, and the shorest plane ride home.

Plus, we might have a Darvish or Suzuki coming.




Sorry guys, I can not buy the theory that our only way to the promised land is through Ohtani.

Say we sign Darvish, but don’t get Ohtani.  Then we get a Bradley Jr. or Grichuk.

Darvish, Paxton, Leake, Ramirez, Gonzo, Miranda, Moore isn’t enough rotation to grab a wild card?  Haven’t even included Felix.

Get a Bradley Jr. and you’ve addressed weaknesses at 1B and CF.  

Goodness knows I lust for Ohtani, but we can skin the WC cat in other ways. N

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