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Volume 24 No. 112
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Japanese Baseball Phenom Shohei Otani Planning To Play In MLB Next Season

Shohei Otani, the "finest baseball player Japan has produced in years," will "enter the posting system this winter and play" in MLB next season, according to Jeff Passan of YAHOO SPORTS. Sources said that MLB and the Nippon Professional Baseball first "need to agree on a new posting system." Sources said that while the current version "caps the posting fee paid to the Japanese team" at $20M, the sides "continue to negotiate new terms and are expected to settle on a new deal before November." The fee is "likely to remain flat, allowing Otani to shop for his preferred team." The process is different than the past, when it was "part of a blind bidding and handcuffed the player" to the MLB team that bid the most. Once the 23-year-old Otani is posted by Nippon Ham, his current team, he will "have a window during which he can choose his new team." The international money will be "treated as a signing bonus," and Otani will sign a minor league contract. Passan writes because Otani will have "signed a minor league deal, he will be subject to MLB’s service rules, which necessitate six full years of time before free agency" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 9/13). In N.Y., Nicholas Parco writes by "coming to MLB now, the max amount of money Otani will be able to get" is $10.1M. If Otani were to "wait until he was 25 to make the jump, he would be treated as a true free agent." Due to this rule, "basically every team in the league is restricted from outbidding other teams, so it will be a rare case where money won't be the sole factor in a free agent signing with a team" (NYDAILYNEWS.com, 9/13). THE RINGER's Zach Kram writes on the open market, a player with Otani’s "talents and potential could easily command nine figures, and perhaps approach" a $200M contract (THERINGER.com, 9/13).