As reported, the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters will allow ace pitcher/slugger Shohei Otani to make his desired move to Major League Baseball via the posting system, according to a team announcement and a report by The Japan Times.
This doesn’t guarantee that Otani, one of the most highly touted Japanese imports in recent memory, will be with a MLB ballclub next season. The MLB and Nippon Professional Baseball, where the Ham Fighters play, now have to negotiate a new posting system under the new MLB collective bargaining agreement. Reports indicate that there is a “tentative understanding” on a new system, but the MLB Players Association needs to sign off on it.
Otani, 23, does not have the required nine years of experience to be granted international free agency. This MLB/NPB posting system allows players like him to go to the United States and play for big league teams. As it sits now under MLB’s new CBA, Otani would have to sign a minor league contract and be subject to international signing bonus pools to enter the league. Otani recently hired representation with CAA.
Otani gained international recognition for his power at the plate in 2016 when he hit .332 with 22 home runs. Otani in his career as a pitcher is 42-15 with a 2.52 ERA and 624 strikeouts in five seasons.
Photo Credit: USA Today
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