Despite the fact he’s limited to signing a Minor League contract because of being younger than 25 years old, Japanese star Shohei Ohtani made it clear his intention was to join the Majors for the 2018 season.
Momentum to that coming to fruition was slowed some, as the posting system expired at the end of October. But that hurdle was cleared when a reported agreement was reached to grandfather the previous system for an addition year, further paving the way for Ohtani’s highly-anticipated arrival.
While the deal has yet to be formally announced, the Nippon-Ham Fighters made it clear of their intention to post Ohtani this winter, according to Dylan Hernandez of the L.A. Times:
Ohtani’s Japanese league team, the Nippon-Ham Fighters, announced Friday they would make the two-way star available to major league teams via the posting system, according to Japanese news reports.
The 23-year-old underwent ankle surgery in September, which was said to have no bearing on his becoming available to MLB clubs. Once posted, interested teams such as the Los Angeles Dodgers, presumably will submit bids upwards of $20 million.
Should a team sign Ohtani, the posting fee would then be paid to the Fighters. As it stands, Ohtani may not receive a signing bonus larger than $5 million. In the Dodgers’ case, they’re capped at offering a $300,000 bonus because of exceeding their international bonus pool in previous signing period.
Injuries limited Ohtani to just 65 games and five on the mound this season. His desire to bat and pitch has led to speculation Otani will prefer to sign with an American League team.