One of baseball’s biggest stars, Shohei Otani, is not yet playing in the Majors, but that may change in the near future.
During an interview with 60 Minutes, the Japanese native said he’s uncertain if the move to the United States will come after this season. In spite of that, many believe that Otani is indeed bound for the Majors in 2018.
His current team in the Japan Nippon Professional Baseball league, the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters, have indicated they will post Otani. But due to the new collective bargaining agreement Otani will not be able to sign for as much money as he previously would have.
Under the new CBA, there is a $20 million cap on posting fees, which gives international teams less incentives to post their players. There is also now a hard cap on how much Major League teams can spend on international players who are under the age of 25.
Otani is just 22 years old. While the opportunity cost is upwards of tens of millions, the pitcher/slugger is not worried about that factor according to Jon Wertheim of CBS:
Personally, I don’t care how much I get paid or how much less I get paid because of this.
Otani will be a highly sought-after free agent whenever he elects to make the jump stateside. He not only is one of the best hitters in the NPB, but he is also widely considered as one of the best pitchers in the world.
Last season Otani batted .322/.416/.588 with 22 home runs in 382 plate appearances. On the mound he posted a 1.86 ERA while averaging 11.2 strikeouts per nine innings in 140 innings pitched.
The Los Angeles Dodgers, who are known to be big spenders in the international pool, presumably will be involved in the pursuit of Otani when the time comes.