Japan’s Babe Ruth is inching closer to taking his talents to America.
Shohei Otani, a two-way baseball star who the Yankees have scouted heavily, will be posted by the Nippon-Ham Fighters this offseason, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Otani, 23, is a pitcher with devastating stuff and at the plate is a monstrous power hitter.
In five seasons with Nippon, Otani slashed .286/.358/.500 and posted an ERA of 2.52 with a 100 mph fastball, according to CBS Sports.
The bidding for Otani among MLB teams will be unique.
League rules state once Otani is formally posted, teams will have just four days to bid on him using their international signing bonus pool.
By coming to MLB now, the max amount of money Otani will be able to get is $10.1 million, according to Yahoo Sports. If Otani were to wait until he was 25 to make the jump, he would be treated as a true free agent. But because he is so young, his salary will be capped.
Due to this rule, basically every team in the league is restricted from outbidding other teams, so it will be a rare case where money won’t be the sole factor in a free agent signing with a team.
However, whatever team Otani picks will be able to offer Otani a signing bonus.
The Texas Rangers can offer the biggest bonus at $3.535 million, followed by the Yankees ($3.25 million) and Twins ($3.245 million), according to the Associated Press.
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