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Japanese phenom Shohei Ohtani is now available to MLB teams

Alex Reimer
December 01, 2017 - 2:38 pm

Let the Shohei Ohtani sweepstakes begin. MLB owners have approved a new posting agreement with Nippon Professional Baseball in Japan that allows teams to begin bidding for the 23-year-old phenom, the Associated Press reports.

Ohtani will be put up for the maximum $20 million posting fee, and he will have 21 days to reach an agreement with a Major League club. Considering the relatively nominal cost, seemingly every team could be in competition for Ohtani’s services, especially because he can only receive a maximum bonus of $3.5 million. Ohtani is limited to a minor league contract that depends on a team’s international signing bonus pool. 

Since the Red Sox have spent heavily in the international circuit, their signing bonus maxes out at $462,000. The teams with the most to offer include the Rangers ($3,335,000), the Yankees ($3.25 million) and Twins ($3,245,000).

But according to WEEI’s Rob Bradford, the signing bonus isn’t Ohtani’s primary concern. Thus, the Red Sox have a chance to land the two-way threat, who throws up to 100 mph and possesses big time power (his career slugging percentage in Japan is .500). Ohtani throws with his right-hand and bats left-handed. 

At the general managers’ meetings last month, Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski talked about how Boston would be a conducive environment for Ohtani. 

“It's a situation where, from our organization, the way we're situated, we're very open to any type of cultural background,” he explained to reporters. “We have a lot of individuals that speak Spanish. We have a lot of individuals that speak Japanese. We have somebody who speaks Korean. Within our system, Taiwanese. So you try and create as much flexibility as you can there to try and be open. So we're cognizant of that and we try and help ourselves."

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