During an end-of-season press conference, Los Angeles Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman declined to speak in great detail about Japanese star Shohei Ohtani. Friedman called it “premature” to discuss Ohtani’s potential joining the Majors.
He added Ohtani’s expected posting was “a situation we are monitoring closely.” In the days since, the Nippon-Ham Fighters formally announced they will make Ohtani available this winter via the MLB posting system.
That came on the heels of a report that indicated the expired posting system would be grandfathered for an additional year. It would allow for the Fighters to receive up to a $20 million posting fee if or when Otani agrees to a contract with an MLB team.
While he was hesitant to discuss Ohtani in great detail, Friedman was willing to expand on the possibility of having a two-way star part of the organization.
“We definitely think it’s doable for someone who’s talented enough to do both,” Friedman said. “It takes being a little creative in trying to figure out the schedule, recovery days, but we definitely think it is doable.”
In his five seasons with the Fighters, the 23-year-old is a career .286/.358/.500 hitter, with 70 doubles, four triples, 48 home runs and 166 RBI. As a right-hander who can touch 100 mph on his fastball, Ohtani went 42-15 with a 2.52 ERA and 1.26 WHIP.
Multiple injuries limited Ohtani to just five starts on the mound this past season. He underwent ankle surgery in September that came with an expected three-month recovery.
The minor surgery won’t deter the Dodgers or other teams from pursuing Ohtani once he’s officially posted. Should he reach a contract agreement, the watch would then shift to what position(s) the Japanese star would play.
“If we’re ever to sign a player who is talented enough to do both, we’d look forward to the challenge of being creative to figure that out,” Friedman said.