Highly regarded amateur pitcher Junichi Tazawa received a lucrative offer from the Texas Rangers on Monday and is expected to decide on his future shortly, his manager said.
“Now that these offers are on the table, a conclusion will be reached in three or four days,” Hideaki Okubo, manager of Tazawa’s Nippon Oil team, said after talks with the Rangers, which followed recent meetings with the Atlanta Braves, Boston Red Sox and Seattle Mariners.
Okubo, who was present at Monday’s negotiations alongside Tazawa, said the Rangers’ proposal is the most attractive in terms of contract amount and duration among those that have been put forward. But he would not disclose any further details.
According to sources close to Tazawa, the Red Sox appear to be the front-runners in the race for his services, and Okubo hinted that Tazawa is hoping to choose his destination as soon as possible.
“It seems to me that Tazawa does not necessarily need to meet any further teams,” Okubo said.
Tazawa has been the focus of attention in the baseball business across the Pacific Ocean since the 22-year-old right-hander made clear his intention in September to pursue a major league career by refusing to be named at the Japanese amateur draft.
His move, the first such case by a top amateur player, irked officials of Japan’s pro leagues and prompted them to work toward setting new rules aimed at curbing outflows of promising talent from the country.