One of Japan’s brightest young baseball stars will have the opportunity to sign with a major league team this offseason.
Shohei Ohtani moves another step closer to MLB, as the Nippon-Ham Fighters announced they will post the two-way player this offseason, according to Japanese news reports.
According to reports, the Nippon Ham Fighters of the Pacific League in Japan announced that they will make superstar Shohei Otani available via the MLB posting system.
The 23-year-old could be a very valuable addition to a handful of teams, and should generate a ton of interest this offseason. Otani currently serves as an outfielder-pitcher for his current club, and could potentially look to play a similar role for the team he agrees to sign with.
Throughout his five-year professional career in Japan, Otani has been rather impressive.
As an outfielder, Otani appeared in 403 games, posting a slash line of .286/.358/.500. As a left-handed power hitter, Otani also slugged 48 home runs and drove in 166 runs. In 85 games as a pitcher (82 starts), the right-hander has a career record of 42-15 with a 2.52 ERA.
Pitching/hitting video of Shohei Otani: pic.twitter.com/r31e0VyrfP
Although the current posting agreement between Major League Baseball and the Nippon Professional Baseball is set to expired, it appears that the current rules will still follow for Otani’s posting. The Japanese club can set a $20 million dollar posting fee, and any team willing to bid the amount will have the opportunity to negotiate with Otani for 30 days.
The Yankees are expected to be suitors for Otani’s services, and could be one of the front-runners to sign the Japanese star.
According to USA Today, the Yankees can offer Otani the second-highest signing bonus of any team ($3.25 million). The Texas Rangers ($3.535 million) can offer Otani the highest signing bonus this offseason.
Otani may be interested intrigued by the possibly of signing with the Yankees. Not only is the signing bonus very competitive, but he may relish in the opportunity to follow the footsteps of other Japanese stars such as Hideki Matsui and Masahiro Tanaka.
For a Yankees team thats not looking to break the bank this offseason, the signing of Otani could be a huge addition to their roster. His youth would fit right in with the ‘Baby Bombers’ trend, and he has the talent to be a very valuable weapon for years to come.
The Shohei Otani sweepstakes are officially on. Expect the New York Yankees to be in high pursuit for Japan’s biggest star.