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Padres sell minor leaguer Matt Clark to Japanese team

Jan 16, 2013, 5:32 PM EDT

matt clark padres

The Padres just announced that they’ve sold minor league first baseman Matt Clark to the Chunichi Dragons in Japan.

Clark is 26 years old and has spent the past two seasons at Triple-A, hitting .291 with 45 homers, 50 doubles, and an .867 OPS in 250 games.

He’s posted an OPS above .800 in each of his five seasons in the minors, but the former 12th-round pick never entered the Padres’ plans and will certainly make more money in Japan that he would have back at Triple-A for another year.

  1. stex52 - Jan 16, 2013 at 5:38 PM

    Is that legal? You suppose they asked him? I guess it’s a good thing for these guys that Iran doesn’t have MLB.

    • jwbiii - Jan 16, 2013 at 6:24 PM

      Yes, it’s legal and yes, players have to give their consent to be assigned outside of the U.S. or Canada. In the case of sales to Japan, it usually works the other way around. The player (his agent) arranges a deal with the Japanese team and then the teams negotiate the sale price. In this case, Padres coach and former Chunichi Dragon Alonzo Powell helped facilitate the deal. He’ll make $450,000 in Japan versus $10,750 AAA scale in Tucson.
      http://yakyubaka.com/2013/01/10/chunichi-dragons-announce-matt-clark-signing/

      • stex52 - Jan 16, 2013 at 8:55 PM

        Thanks for the info.

  2. jl9830 - Jan 16, 2013 at 6:29 PM

    I’ve always wondered about this: I know these players should have to play anywhere in MLB if they’re traded, but can an MLB team just make a guy play half the year halfway across the world?

  3. shaggylocks - Jan 16, 2013 at 9:50 PM

    Maybe I’m a little more sensitive to the language of the headline right now because I just saw both Lincoln and Django Unchained, but shouldn’t the headline be worded “Padres sell minor leaguer Matt Clark‘s contract to Japanese team?” I mean, Curt Flood already fought this fight.

    • jwbiii - Jan 16, 2013 at 11:58 PM

      While I see your point, it’s kind a murky area. It is very unlikely that the Padres have Clark under contract. Most minor leaguers do not sign contracts until spring training. The Padres do own the right to put him under contract for as long as the next ten years, if they so choose. So you could say that the Padres are selling the rights to put Clark under contract, but that’s not really true either. If and when Clark returns to MLB/MiLB, the team that signs him could have the same ten years over the right to sign him to a contract.

  4. unlost1 - Jan 17, 2013 at 9:22 AM

    pretty bad since their current 1st baseman only hit 9 home runs last year

  5. kander013 - Jan 17, 2013 at 10:18 AM

    Good thing we know how this turns out as Tom Selleck already told us this story in 1992. Soon Matt Clark will lay down a bunt rather than hit to break his manager’s home run record, marry the manager’s daughter, and then return to the States to become a manager, only to be called chief.

  6. flosox - Jan 17, 2013 at 11:16 AM

    I saw something like this on TWIB (does that even exist anymore??) but it was a prank…hilarious as hell! The guy bought it and almost cried.

    • jwbiii - Jan 17, 2013 at 11:59 AM

      Maybe this one?
      http://www.baseballamerica.com/today/prospects/prospect-diary/2008/267206.html

  7. gloccamorra - Jan 18, 2013 at 11:46 AM

    While he has the stats (in the stat-bloated PCL), he’s never got a call to the show, and when he was left unprotected in the rule 5 draft, nobody took him. How do the scouts KNOW when a player isn’t major league material?

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