MLB Free Agency: Yankees the favorites to sign Otani if he is posted

Per Jon Heyman of FanragSports, the Yankees are viewed as the “supreme favorites” to sign young Japanese superstar Shohei Otani. Otani is just 23-years-old and has become a star in the Nippon Professional Baseball league as both a pitcher and an outfielder. As a hitter, he batted .332 with eight home runs and 31 RBI. He played in just 65 out of a possible 146 games and battled ankle problems that ultimately required surgery in October. The injury occurred in October of 2016 and affected his playing time throughout the season but it is not expected to be a problem going forward. As a pitcher, Otani made 5 starts, posting a 3-2 record with a 3.20 ERA, 29 strikeouts and 19 walks in 25.1 IP.

Credit: Toru Takahashi/The Associated Press
There has been considerable buzz about Otani for a long time and as Heyman reports, executives around the league view the Yankees as the leader to sign the Japanese star. One National League executive is quoted in Heyman’s report as saying “The Yankees are the favorite, there’s no other way to look at it,” There is however a potential hiccup that could delay Otani’s move to the majors.

Credit: Masterpress/Getty Images
While the current posting system can net the posting team up to $20 million in compensation for the player, the current agreement between MLB and NPB prevents international free agents under the age of 25 from getting paid any more than a team’s allotted international signing pool. While he would surely receive a contract in the hundreds of millions as an unrestricted free agent, right now the most Otani would be able to receive is the $3.55 million the Texas Rangers have available. The Yankees have the second most available in their international signing pool with $3.25 million. MLB and NBP have set a deadline of Monday to come to an agreement on a new posting system and should be able to work something out with so much money on the line for all the parties involved.

It remains to be seen if the Yankees would allow Otani to pitch and play the field if they were to sign him, but either way they would be adding another tremendously talented young player to their team if they did. This situation will likely start to sort itself out over the next several days so stay tuned. We may be about to find out the future of the next international superstar.    

Article by Matt Graziano


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