The Cleveland Indians have signed 18-year-old Japanese outfielder Takuya Tsuchida to a minor league contract, according to the Plain Dealer's Paul Hoynes. Tsuchida is expected to join the team at spring training, and remain there for extended spring training. Tsuchida is a left-handed hitter and possesses good speed and athleticism. The terms of his deal have yet to be released, but the Indians had roughly $700,000 remaining in their international free agent budget for this season.
The Indians are also said to be in the hunt for pitcher Shohei Otani, another 18-year-old Japanese prospect. Otani reportedly doesn't want to pitch in Japan, and wants to come directly to America. However, he has already been drafted by a Japanese team, which complicates the process. The Indians would have to exceed their international free agent budget to sign Otani, which means they would be subject to a penalty from the league.