According to reports out of Japan, star Shonei Otani will request to be posted this offseason.
Otani, 23, hit .346/.416/.574 with seven home runs and 28 RBIs in 51 games this season. He did not pitch much this season, however in 2016 he went 10-4 with a 1.86 ERA, striking out 176 batters in 140.0 innings.
He has been clocked at and above 100 mph off the mound, and when he’s not pitching he puts his arm to good use in the outfield.
He has said that when he comes to America, he wishes to continue to both pitch and hit – something that might give National League teams an advantage in their attempt to woo him.
The maximum signing bonus that the 23-year-old Otani could receive is currently $10.1 million. If he waited until he was 25, however, there would be no limitation to the type of contract he could sign. He could be leaving tens, even hundreds of millions of dollars on the table by coming now instead of waiting.
This winter could be the most interesting free agent frenzy we’ve ever seen. The “Japanese Babe Ruth” is coming to America and teams will vigorously pursue him due to his young age and comparatively small price tag. A team would only need to pay the $20 million posting fee, and then whatever international spending money it has available.
He had a showcase back in August which 15 Major League teams sent scouts. The Mets were not one of those teams, which speaks volumes of their willingness to pursue him now.