Japan’s Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters are expected to formally post ace/slugger Shohei Ohtani today once a new posting system between Major League Baseball, the MLB Players Association and Nippon Professional Baseball has been formally ratified by Major League owners. The proposed system reportedly calls for a 21-day negotiation period for Ohtani this offseason, so within three weeks of his posting, it will finally be clear which team he’ll be suiting up for come 2018.
Here’s the latest chatter on Ohtani as he sits on the precipice of negotiations with Major League teams…
- MLB.com’s Jon Morosi tweets that executives from multiple teams are of the belief that Ohtani’s preference is to sign in a market that does not already have an established Japanese star, though Ohtani’s agents at CAA have not commented on that possibility. Morosi also spoke to one of Ohtani’s teammates in Japan, former big leaguer Brandon Laird, who offered a similar suggestion (Twitter link): “I feel like he just wants to come and not be compared to other guys who have already been here — to start fresh on his own, show what he can do by himself.”
- Yankees GM Brian Cashman publicly stated his interest in Ohtani for the first time today, calling Ohtani a “perfect fit” and voicing a willingness to let him pitch and hit with the Yankees (all Twitter links via MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch). “It’s a big stage here and it’s meant to have the best talent to play on it,” said Cashman. “Ohtani represents the next great talent that is available in the world of baseball. This stage is made for players like this.” While the Yankees’ interest in Ohtani is hardly a secret, Cashman had yet to go on-record to discuss his interest in bringing Ohtani to the Bronx prior to today.
- Morosi also tweets that the conference call with MLB owners that will formally approve the posting agreement is set for 1pm ET this afternoon. The meeting is a formality at this point, though, and Ohtani is expected to be posted shortly thereafter.