The Major League Baseball Players Association announced Monday evening it has agreed to a 24-hour extension for a new posting agreement to be reached between MLB and Nippon Professional Baseball. The deadline has now been extended until 8:00 pm ET on Tuesday, November 21.
The news is critical for all teams interested in signing Japanese star Shohei Ohtani. As of now, his availability remains in flux, but every organization is watching closely to see if and when he will be made available.
Optimism remains that a deal will be reached, as the sides continue to talk. It has been reported that MLB and NPB are on the same page regarding the posting fee, but Bill Baer of NBC Sports noted that the MLBPA was challenging NPB posting system, as Ohtani would receive a signing bonus between $300,000 and $3.53 million if he came to MLB this offseason. The agreement and continued talks seem like a good sign for teams hoping to bid on Ohtani.
While Ohtani would likely command a large contract on the open market with several teams bidding against one another, he is just 23 years old, so he is subject to international bonus pool restrictions under the current collective bargaining agreement. A unique case, Ohtani figures to bolster the pennant chances of the team that ultimately signs him as an impact signing.
Much has been discussed about a potential position should Ohtani be posted and cleared to come over to MLB. With a fastball that has clocked over 100 mph and a quality slider, many see the potential he has as a pitcher, but he also slugged .286/.358/.500 over the past five seasons in Japan. A true, two-way talent, American League teams have to see the potential of having him pitching every fifth day and being a DH-quality bat every other game.
One thing is for sure, his talent is undeniable. It is now up to all sides to come to an agreement to bring his talent over to the United States and MLB.