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White Sox take shot at coveted free agent Shohei Ohtani
December 18 2017, 02:49 | Alonzo Simpson
Report: Shohei Ohtani meeting with MLB teams next week
Major League Baseball teams can start bidding on Japanese phenom Shohei Ohtani, and it should come as no surprise that the Red Sox are interested in his services.
That timeframe was revealed in conjunction with the announcement of a new agreement between MLB and Nippon Professional Baseball that lays out terms for players to move from Japan to MLB beginning next offseason.
Ohtani, 23, is a star player in Japan and intends to be a double-threat as a right-handed pitcher and left-handed-hitting outfielder with whichever Major League Baseball team he chooses. The three teams with the most worldwide bonus pool money available are the Rangers ($3.535 million), Yankees ($3.5 million) and Twins ($3.07 million), but with all 30 teams relatively close in what they can offer Ohtani, his decision is not likely to be significantly impacted by the money he gets on this initial agreement.
As part of negotiations this week, NPB dropped its stance that a Japanese team be able to withdraw a posting before the process is complete.
In addition, MLB said Kazuhisa Makita, a 33-year-old right-hander on the Pacific League's Seibu Lions, will be posted by December 31.
Due to the league's posting system rules, Ohtani's initial contract won't be as hefty as most would expect.
Otani was the 2016 Pacific League MVP and was 3-2 with a 3.20 ERA this year for the Fighters, limited because of thigh and ankle injuries.
A right-hander, Otani has a 42-15 record with a 2.52 ERA and 624 strikeouts in 543 innings over five seasons, and a.286 batting average with 48 homers and 166 RBIs. Under the previous agreement, the time period was November 1 through March 1.