Derek Jeter aids Yankees pursuit of Shohei Ohtani

TOKYO, JAPAN - NOVEMBER 19: Starting pitcher Shohei Otani
TOKYO, JAPAN - NOVEMBER 19: Starting pitcher Shohei Otani /

Who would have thought when Yankees VP of player development, Gary Denbo left for Miami, it would actually benefit the Bombers’ chances of landing Shohei Ohtani.

Help me, help you. That’s what the Yankees and Derek Jeter’s new team came together to do on Monday night, less than an hour before 40-man rosters across MLB locked.

The forever rebuilding Marlins acquired first baseman Garrett Cooper and left-handed pitcher Caleb Smith from the Yanks for 22-year-old right-handed shooter Michael King.

The beauty of this trade actually revealed itself on multiple fronts for Brian Cashman’s bunch.

By shedding Cooper and Smith from the 40-man roster, the Yankees were able to add six top prospects to their protected list prior to next month’s dreaded Rule 5 draft.

Those players include the top overall prospect in baseball, Gleyber Torres, infielder Thairo Estrada; right-handed pitchers Albert Abreu, Domingo Acevedo and Jonathan Loaisiga; and outfielder/first baseman Billy McKinney.

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In the meantime, it’s always nice to acquire an asset in return for two players who would have probably been left unprotected and therefore selected in the Rule 5 draft, guaranteeing you nothing.

It definitely helps that Denbo knows the Yanks’ farm system like the back of his hand.

In the deal, the Yanks picked up Michael King, who went 11-9 with a 3.14 ERA and 1.06 WHIP in 149 innings at Single-A Greensboro last season.

As for the other portion of the transaction, arguably as important, if not more so than any other — the Marlins included $250,000 worth of international bonus pool money.

This raises the Yankees’ available funds to $3.5 million, which is the second most in baseball behind the Rangers’ $3.535 million. This money can be used as a bonus to entice 23-year-old Shohei Ohtani of the Nippon-Ham Fighters to sign with the Yanks once he is officially posted.

Of course, the entire process hinges on MLB, the MLB Players Association and Japanese baseball authorities coming to an agreement on a new posting system by Tuesday night for players who want to make the jump from Nippon Professional Baseball.

This situation stems from Ohtani’s desire to leave the NKP, two year’s before his 25th birthday. Because of this, Ohtani would have to sign a standard minor league contract worth a league minimum of $545,000, once he makes a major league roster.

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According to John Harper of The New York Daily News, there’s still one major hurdle to overcome.

"By coming over now, he’s limited to what teams have to spend in their international draft pools, and as such the Players Association doesn’t think it’s fair that Otani’s team in Japan should still get the $20 million posting fee that was standard in the now-expired agreement between the Nippon Professional Baseball Organization and MLB."