Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters Announce They Will Post Shohei Ohtani

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.

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