As the 2006 season winds down and the playoffs soon to begin people are again wondering how their favorite teams will retool for 2007. The FA market is small but quite top-heavy with stud talent. As always, the most covented need is starting pitching with Zito, Schmidt, & Matsuzaka the top starters the be available. The whole Matsuzaka situation intrigues me. The process of posting a player by a Japanese team seems ridiculous to me considering the large sums of money usually exchanged just to negotiate with the player, not guaranteeing a deal makes the act even more absurd since the contract does not include money from the posting bid.
So, my question is this. Why not send scouts to Asian countries and sign players before they sign to their initial pro contracts? Most Japanese players pitched in High School before penning their 1st contract (ex. Matsuzaka). MLB teams have, in the past, signed many Asian players after thier contract has expired with Japanese clubs. But most of the guys that sign are close to, if not above, their mid-thirties. Now, I know that sounds simple and I am sure there is much more to it. But it cannot be much different than various scouts going to many Latin countries scouting and signing players for pro teams. Most of the those countries have professional teams that I'm sure would benefit from rostering players such as Fernando Martineez, Jose Tabata, & Carlos Truinfel in the future. Of course, in most cases, the Japanese economy is superior to those of most Latin countries. But for that reason, it almost seems like an easier task.
Why does the MLB continue to do this when these players can benefit more financially and probably develop to higher level faster playing in the majors/minors while improving their respective organizations? Granted it could hurt competitiveness but so does letting players like H. Matsui & I. Suzuki go. MLB organizations should sign these guys like Matsuzaka, whom everyone knew was a stud coming out of prep school, right out of High School so Japanese teams don't need compensation. With the right scouting crew and documentation needed, I don't see why this isn't done. If I were a Japanese player like Matsuzaka, Ishii, or Iwamura...why not retire, essentially become a FA like Nomo, then sign with a MLB team? So anybody wanna weigh in on this ?