wnol.info July 21 2018

White Sox take shot at coveted free agent Shohei Ohtani

July 21 2018, 12:22 | Alonzo Simpson

White Sox take shot at coveted free agent Shohei Ohtani

Japan's starter Shohei Otani pitches against South Korea during the first inning of their semifinal game at the Premier12 world baseball tournament at Tokyo Dome in Tokyo. A person familiar with the decision says

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.

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According to Ronald Blum of the Associated Press, the Texas Rangers, New York Yankees and Minnesota Twins are the only teams who can offer a signing bonus of more than $3 million.

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.

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