A week ago, Major League Baseball, its Players Association and Nippon Professional Baseball league agreed on a new posting system for Japanese players, paving the way for two-way superstar Shohei Ohtani to make his debut next season.
However, the posting system for Ohtani and other NPB players remains unchanged this offseason. The Nippon-Ham Fighters still stand to receive a $20 million posting fee from whichever MLB club their star player is to sign a contract with.
But moving forward, the amount a posting team is to receive will hinge on the value of the MLB contract that’s signed.
The only hurdle that remained after the agreement was reached was for MLB owners to ratify it, which happened on Friday by a unanimous vote, according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post:
Owners ratified new posting system with Japan unanimously. Ohtani will now be posted later today and have to Dec. 22 to reach agreement with an MLB team.
— Joel Sherman (@Joelsherman1) December 1, 2017
As noted, Ohtani is expected to be formally posted on Friday, and he will then have three weeks to negotiate with clubs. He recently sent a questionnaire to all teams, asking, among things, how they intended to utilize him.
Because Ohtani is just 23 years old, he’s treated as an international prospect, not an international free agent. As such, he’s bound by MLB guidelines to a signing bonus that is limited to a team’s bonus pool money.
Reports indicate the Texas Rangers ($3.535 million) and New York Yankees ($3.25 million) have the most international bonus pool money to sign Ohtani. The Los Angeles Dodgers have significantly less to offer him, although possibly playing in Los Angeles would open up several marketing opportunities.
Had Ohtani waited until he was 25 years old to make the jump to playing in the Majors, it’s believed he could’ve signed a contract in the neighborhood of $200 million.