According to reports from The Associated Press, the agent representing Japanese hybrid superstar Shohei Ohtani has requested written explanations as to how the pitcher-batter cross-breed will fit on the roster of any of Major League Baseball’s 30 clubs.
Ohtani’s agent asked for the said explanation from “any interested teams,” but it is expected that all of MLB’s 30 clubs will take a shot at the 23-year-old heralded as the Babe Ruth of the 21st century.
Nez Balelo of Creative Artists Agency (CAA) Baseball sent out a letter asking for, in both English and Japanese, for teams to “evaluate Ohtani’s talent as a pitcher and as a hitter; explain its player development, medical training, and player performance philosophies and facilities; describe its minor league and spring training facilities; detail resources for Ohtani’s cultural assimilation into the team’s city; demonstrate a vision for how Ohtani could integrate into the team’s organization; and tell Ohtani why the team is a desirable place to play.”
This and any movement of Ohtani is pending a December 1 vote on a new posting agreement between MLB and Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball. If the deal is approved via the December 1 vote, Ohtani’s NPL team, the Nippon Ham Fighters, can post Ohtani as soon as that very day.
It is rumored that Ohtani will be posted by the Nippon Ham Fighters for $20 million dollars, a price that MLB teams would have 21 days to both meet and negotiate with Ohtani and crew in regards to a contract.
Given Ohtani’s talent at the plate and on the mound, it’s important for teams to give Ohtani a sense of how he would be deployed over the course of a season. How often he would pitch, the frequency at which he would bat, what roles he would be used in, and many other questions are all too crucial to go unanswered.
You could have Ohtani in the starting rotation, and on his off days in between starts he could slot into the outfield unit. If he signs with an American League team, he could play the designated hitter position, outfield, and/or pitcher. His versatility as a baseball player is the exact reason why these explanations are necessary.
Ohtani, if he is posted upon the agreement’s approval on December 1, will be signed to a minor league contract subject to the remaining amount of international signing bonus money the teams have. This is due to a flaw in the collective bargaining agreement between MLB and the Player’s Association, but it shouldn’t limit him to playing in MLB for whichever team inks him.
The Texas Rangers, New York Yankees, and Minnesota Twins have the most international signing bonus money left for the potential Ohtani signing. Ohtani was the 2016 Pacific League MVP, but went just 3-2 with a 3.20 ERA this year because of a thigh injury and an ailing ankle that required surgery on October 12. He hit .332 in 65 games with 16 doubles, eight home runs and 31 runs batted in.
He has a 42-15 career record on the hill with a 2.52 ERA and 624 strikeouts in 543 innings over five seasons, as well as a .286 batting average with 48 home runs and 166 runs batted in. For more on Ohtani and the situation surrounding him, enjoy this frequently asked questions page on MLB.com.