Another huge hurdle in the way of Shohei Ohtani coming to Major League Baseball has been cleared, as his Japanese team announced they will post the two-way star this offseason.
The Yankees are deeply interested in the 23-year-old, who played in just 65 games this season because of an ankle injury. He still managed a .332/.403/.540 slash-line with eight home runs and 31 RBIs. He pitched to a 3-2 record, with a 3.20 ERA and a 10.3 K/9 rate. He had some command issues, which explains his inflated 6.8 BB/9 rate.
Ohtani came onto the global radar as a top amateur talent after his breakout season in 2016. In his age-22 season, he hit .322/.416/.588 with 22 home runs and 67 RBIs as an outfielder and designated hitter for the Fighters. In 21 games pitching (20 starts), he went 10-4 with an incredible 1.86 ERA, 11.2 K/9 and 2.9 BB/9. He won the Best Nine award as a pitcher and designated hitter, and was named Pacific League MVP in 2016.
Because of his age, Ohtani will have to be signed as an amateur player. He will sign a minor league contract with six years of control, and is limited to receiving a signing bonus under the pool program. The Yankees can offer Ohtani a $3.25 million bonus, a figure topped only by the Texas Rangers. The MLB and NPB must reach a new posting agreement before Ohtani becomes an MLB free agent.