Pirates Rumored to Be One of Eight Interested in Taiwanese Infielder
According to Taiwan Baseball, the Pittsburgh Pirates are one of eight major league teams who have shown serious interest in Taiwanese infielder Tzu-Wei Lin. The site mentions that Lin should receive a seven figure bonus, which would be the highest signing bonus for an amateur non-pitcher out of Taiwan. Other teams that are reportedly interested are the Rangers, Yankees, Indians, Red Sox, Twins, Athletics, and Padres. The Softbank Hawks of the NPB are another interested team.
Lin is a very toolsy player, with the potential for an above-average bat, gap power, an above-average arm, and average defense and range. He’s also a plus runner. He plays shortstop, but might eventually switch to second base or center field.
He will be eligible to sign upon completion of high school. It’s unknown whether that will happen before the international signing period begins on July 2nd. If Lin can sign early, he wouldn’t count against any team’s $2.9 M budget, which only counts toward signings from July 2nd, 2012 to July 1st, 2013.
Lin signed a deal with the Yankees back in August 2010 for $350 K. However, the deal was invalid because Lin never actually signed off on the deal, with his father signing off on the contract instead. Lin was offered upwards of $600 K by other teams, including the Twins and Athletics. All three teams are rumored to be in on him again this year.