Major League Baseball, its Players Association and Japan’s best league, Nippon Professional Baseball, recently agreed on a new posting system, paving the way for Japanese superstar Shohei Ohtani to be posted and coming over to the MLB before the 2018 season.
Part of the new agreement was a new hard cap on the signings of international amateurs under age 25, which Ohtani, 23, falls under, which will limit his earnings as he will receive a contract of no more than $3.535 million and will be forced to stay with the team he signs with for six years.
On the other hand, his NPB team, the Nippon Ham Fighters, will receive $20 million for posting their superstar.
MLB agent Scott Boras, who does not represent Ohtani, recently commented on the new posting system, saying it is not fair to Ohtani as under the old posting system players like Masahiro Tanaka of the New York Yankees were able to sign as big of a contract as a team would give them, via Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic:
“Now the unsuspecting (2016 Pacific League MVP) no longer has the protection of his Japanese team or the MLB posting rules. He is precocious, greatness cast adrift, forced into the MLB lifeboat. And his admission is handcuffs that prevent him from getting at least what his older, lesser valued peers received—in Tanaka’s case, more than $150 million. Is this an international event or an international incident?”
Boras believes that the new agreement is disrespectful to the NPB players and that they deserve better, urging for a change:
“Ohtani is the greatest expression of the NPB and we need to honor that league’s contribution to the greatest league of all,” Boras said. “We need to protect this relationship and advance for generations the positive bridge that allows Japan’s greatest players—and especially the innocent youth—to want to leave their homes and family to advance to the MLB.
“If NPB players are ridiculed and taken advantage of—even with their consent—we have destroyed years of goodwill and respect the MLB once showed the NPB. This great league and its players—especially Ohtani—deserve better.”
While Ohtani’s MLB salary will be a lot less than what he’s worth, he will have the ability to make a lot more in endorsements once he comes over, which could influence his decision as far as what team he wants to sign with.
It appears Ohtani is focused on the baseball aspect of things though as his agent sent a memo to all 30 teams asking to outline how they would use him if they were to sign him.