Published: Thu, September 14, 2017
Sports | By Nelson Rowe

Shohei Otani will make himself available to Major League Baseball, reports say

Shohei Otani will make himself available to Major League Baseball, reports say

Tanaka said Otani seems capable of doing both but when push comes to shove, "he's a pitcher".

The reports said the Japanese team he plays for, the Nippon-Ham Fighters, will post Otani, known equally for his 100-plus miles per hour fastballs and long home runs (he has been hampered somewhat this season by ankle and hamstring injuries).

Under the current rules, any Major League Baseball club willing to pay the Ham Fighters a $20 million relocation fee can negotiate with Otani, who can only sign for whatever a team is willing to pay out of his global bonus poll money. "I think that's what's in every competitor's heart".

Multiple outlets reported that Nippon Ham Fighters will post Otani between November and March, making him available to United States clubs who will have four days to bid on his services. I was asked today: 'Could a guy pitch and DH some?' And I think it's possible. I do.

"I think, in reality, we can't really say if he can or can't do it", Masahiro Tanaka said through an interpreter.

The rules, ratified early this year, mean that global pros under the age of 25 are treated like amateurs and unable to sign lucrative free agent contracts.

Scouts from at least 16 teams have gone to Japan to watch Otani this year, including Yankees general manager Brian Cashman.

The Yankees even traded for extra bonus poll money this summer, bumping their allotment from $4.875 million to $8 million, but four signings of Latino prospects cost the organization $3.85 million of that.

Otani is two years away from being a complete free agent, and he stands to forfeit tens of millions of dollars if he elects to be posted for bidding by Major League Baseball clubs this offseason.

Last season with the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters, Otani put together a 1.86 ERA with 174 strikeouts over 140 innings on the mound, and a.322/.416/.588 slash line with 22 homers at the dish.

Tanaka worked out with Otani in Japan last offseason and while he hasn't stayed in contact with him, Tanaka knows that Otani has battled ankle and thigh injuries that have limited him to two starts so far this year. "They want to challenge themselves with how well they can play here in the big leagues".

Like this: