Right-handed starting pitcher/left-handed slugger Shohei Ohtani will most likely be posted for MLB availability this coming Friday. Expect all 30 teams to be involved in the process, offering up $20 million to pay to the Nippon Ham Fighters of NPB for the right to sign Ohtani.
Once the interested teams declare willing to pony up the $20 million posting fee -- and, again, expect all 30 to do so -- Ohtani will then decide where to sign. Money likely won't be the deciding factor, given that Ohtani could've waited another few years and gotten something around $200 million. Instead, teams are handcuffed to their international bonus pool money. The Rangers are at the top of the scale with $3.55 million available. Several large-market players, like the Dodgers and Cubs, are capped at $300,000.
So, to reiterate, don't expect the salary to be the biggest thing here with Ohtani. Instead, focus on the following: His agent, per the Associated Press, has sent a letter to all 30 teams, seeking answers/explanations in both English and Japanese to these issues:
- An evaluation of Ohtani's pitching and hitting ability
- An explanation of the team's player development, medical training and player performance philosophies
- Spring training, minor-league and major-league facilities
- Details for Ohtani's cultural assimilation
- How the team plans to integrate Ohtani into its organization
- Why the city/franchise is a desirable place to play along with any other relevant "marketplace" characteristics
According to the AP, nothing in the letter mentioned anything financial, yet another reminder this isn't really about the money just yet.
Ohtani, 23, has been at Japan's highest level since his age-18 season. He battled injury last season and only appeared in 65 games. In 2016, though, he hit .322/.416/.588 with 22 homers in 104 games. He also went 10-4 with a 1.86 ERA, 0.96 WHIP and 174 strikeouts in 140 innings on the mound.