Here’s the pitch, and Shohei Otani wants to see it in writing.
The agent for the intriguing Japanese star has asked major-league teams interested in the free-agent pitcher and outfielder — including the favorited Yankees and, to a lesser extent, the Mets — for written explanations in both English and Japanese on “how Otani would fit into each organization…and what makes the team attractive,” according to the Associated Press.
The directive from agent Nez Balelo of CAA Baseball reportedly was forwarded from the commissioner’s office to all 30 teams in MLB on Friday, asking for teams to detail their evaluations of Otani’s ability and their expectations of him both as a pitcher and as a batter, as well as specific merits about their respective teams and cities.
The request, according to the AP report, also seeks additional information explaining each organization’s player development, medical training and player performance philosophies and facilities, including in the minor leagues and spring training, among other topics related to his cultural assimilation to that team and city.
Each team was asked to submit its answers in both languages “as soon as possible,” although clubs also were told not to include any financial terms of a potential contract.
A tentative agreement was reached on Tuesday between Nippon Professional Baseball, MLB and the players’ union to maintain the existing posting agreement for this offseason, which would include Otani, with an additional three-year deal beginning after next season in which Japanese teams would be compensated based on a percentage of the contract the player garners.
MLB owners are slated to vote to ratify the deal on Friday, and if it passes, the 23-year-old Otani is expected to be posted by his existing team as soon as the following day.
Shohei Otani’s agent hands out homework as teams line up for shot at rising Japanese star.
The Nippon Ham Fighters are expected to establish the posting price at $ 20 million — the maximum allowable figure — which only would be transferred if a team meeting that price is able to negotiate and agree to a deal with Otani within a 21-day window.
Otani, the reigning Pacific League MVP, missed significant time this year due to thigh and ankle injuries, but he still finished the season 3-2 with a 3.20 ERA on the mound, while hitting .332 with eight homers and 31 RBI over 65 games.
Overall, he has posted a record of 42-15 with a 2.52 ERA and 624 strikeouts in 543 innings over five seasons, plus a .286 batting average with 48 homers and 166 RBI.
Under terms of MLB’s new labor pact, any contract with Otani must be a minor-league deal corresponding to each team’s 2017-18 international signing bonus pool.
Texas has the most money available to offer at $ 3,535,000, closely followed by the Yankees at $ 3.5 million.
With News wire services