Shohei Otani is coming to Minor League Baseball


Shohei Otani

Photo by Masterpress/Getty Images

Japanese phenom Shohei Otani will have humble beginnings once he makes his way across the pond and into North American baseball.

According to Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports, the most intriguing pending international free agent Nippon Ham Fighters pitcher Shohei Otani is expected to be posted by his Japanese team this winter and be eligible for MLB free agency. Moreover though, because of the MLB‘s new collective bargaining agreement for players before the age of 25, Otani (who is 23) will be forced to sign a Minor League contract with the international money agreed to acting as a signing bonus writes Passan.

Additionally, as far as the money goes Otani certainly isn’t making the immediate jump to North America for a quick payday.

Passan goes on to make mention that Otani will likely make the League minimum of $545,000 his first season and be subject to MLB service rules meaning he’ll have to accumulate six full seasons of service time before becoming a free agent once again.

According to the Japan Times, Otani will be able to make some big money in the short term via the signing bonus which could range anywhere from $300,000 and $10 million dollars. The sum however will be subject to the available international bonus pool money by the MLB team who does end up signing him. Major League Baseball and Nippon Professional Baseball will also need to agree on a new posting system before Otani can sign which is currently capped at $20 million.

Needless to say, whomever signs Otani will certainly be getting themselves a huge upfront bargain. Despite an injury plagued season this year that’s limited him to just 51 games at the plate and 4 2/3 innings on the mound, Otani has been a stud throughout the majority of his professional career. Stud in the sense that he’s slashing at .346/.416/.574 with seven homers, and 14 doubles in 185 plate appearances. Meanwhile on the mound he’s accumulated a career 2.60 ERA and 1.08 WHIP with 601 strikeouts over the span of 522 1/3 career innings.

Oh yeah… his fastball has also been clocked at 101.3 mph.

Essentially he’s a right-handed rich man’s Madison Baumgarner who’ll more than likely stay off the dirt bike.

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