Japanese pitcher Junichi Tazawa agreed to a three-year contract with the Boston Red Sox after rejecting offers from three other major league teams, The Boston Globe reported.
The newspaper, citing a source, reported that Tazawa will arrive in Boston this week to take a physical after agreeing to a three-year deal worth about $3 million.
The Globe reported that Tazawa's deal is a major league contract, meaning he will be placed on the Red Sox's 40-man roster. However, Tazawa is expected to start next season in the minor leagues.
Although Tazawa's deal is for three years, the Red Sox will hold his rights for three additional years as he will need six years of major league service before qualifying for free agency.
According to The Globe, it is unclear if the Red Sox view Tazawa as a starter or reliever.
The hard-throwing Tazawa is a standout in Japan's corporate leagues. He asked Japan's professional teams not to select him in November's amateur draft so that he can pursue a career in the U. S. major leagues.
Tazawa helped Nippon Oil win the intercity tournament in September and reach the semifinals of the corporate championship that ended Sunday.
No rule prevents American teams from pursuing Japanese amateurs.
Several major league teams have been reluctant to pursue Tazawa for fear of upsetting relations between Major League Baseball and Nippon Professional Baseball.
After Tazawa made clear his intention to bypass Japan's draft, Japan's professional baseball teams agreed to introduce a ban on players who return to the country after opting out of the amateur draft in order to play for overseas pro teams.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.