Japan's 'Babe Ruth' Shohei Otani wants to pitch in MLB next season
Shohei Ohtani is known for many things in Japan, but he wants to expand his horizons to MLB and he wants to do it in 2018.
According to the San Francisco Chronicle, Ohtani has expressed interest in coming to the United States. The Chronicle also stated the Giants are scouting the phenom, but honestly, who isn't?
The 23-year-old has been a staple for the Nippon Ham Fighters since he was 18. In that time he has batted .286 with 47 home runs and 163 RBIs is 389 career games. He has also gone 39-15 as a pitcher with 601 strikeouts in 522 1/3 innings hence the comparisons to Babe Ruth in his ability both on the mound and at the plate.
Ohtani isn't eligible to be a free agent until after the 2021 season in Japan, so he'll need the Fighters' approval to negotiate with any MLB team. If he Fighters plan to post Ohtani after this season, he would be subject to the international bonus pool under the new MLB collective bargaining agreement.
By coming for 2018, Otani is saying money is secondary. Which makes the Dodgers and Cubs, with $300K max to spend, plenty big threats. 4/5
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) September 13, 2017
Ohtani would have to wait until he's 25 years old to be exempt from the hard cap of the international bonus pool but it appears neither he or MLB clubs are going to wait that long.