Earlier this afternoon the 30 MLB team owners voted to approve the new posting agreement with Nippon Professional Baseball and announced that Shohei Ohtani has officially been posted by the Nippon Ham Fighters for a $20 million posting fee.
Now that Ohtani has been posted teams have until 11:59 PM on December 22 to negotiate a contract with the two-way superstar. Because he is only 23, Ohtani’s bonus is capped by what teams have left available in their international free agent spending pool.
The Texas Rangers have the most international money available with $3,535,000, the Yankees have the second most with $3.25 million, and the Twins are behind them with $3,245,000 after they voided the contract with Jelfry Marte. The Kansas City Royals, St. Louis Cardinals, San Diego Padres, Cincinnati Reds, Oakland Athletics, Atlanta Braves, Chicago Cubs, Houston Astros, Los Angeles Dodgers, San Francisco Giants, and Washington Nationals are limited to a maximum of $300,000 for a signing bonus.
The contract he will sign will be the same standard uniform player contract that all minor leaguers will sign. That means that teams will not have to add Ohtani to the major league roster right away, they can wait until just before opening day to add him to the roster.
Once he is on a major league roster, he will be subjected to the same contract rules as other new majors. It is likely that teams will negotiate an extension at some point after his first season. MLB has been cracking down on organizations attempting to circumvent the international free agent cap, including punishments on the Boston Red Sox and Atlanta Braves both teams have had player contracts voided after investigations by the commissioner’s office.
The Yankees have already submitted their pitch to Ohtani according to Mike Mazzeo of the NY Daily News. In the same article, Brian Cashman was quoted as calling the “Baby Ruth of Japan” a “perfect fit” for the Yankees.
The Yankees have an opening in their rotation as well as an open designated hitter spot. Combined with the fact that New York is one of the world’s largest media markets and has success with many Japanese players in the past they are in an excellent position to win the services Ohtani.