With prized prospect Shohei Otani on the shelf until April, the Cleveland Indians decided to sign another Japanese 18-year-old rather than wait six months to bid on Otani. The Indians signed outfielder Takuya Tsuchida to a minor league contract Monday, reports Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer:
The Indians have signed an 18-year-old Japanese outfielder to a minor league contract.
Takuya Tsuchida will go to spring training with the Indians minor leaguers in March and probably open the year in extended spring. He's a left-handed hitter with speed and athleticism, who can play several positions.
Right now his best two spots are center field and second base.
The specifics of the deal are unknown at this point, but the Indians used at least some, if not all, of the $700k the club had left in their international free agent allotment for this year.
The signing of Tsuchida probably puts the Indians out of the running for Otani come April, though it is not certain. There is still a chance the Tribe could have a go at Otani when he becomes available, but would likely go over their international free agent allotment and face penalties as a result.