Fighters grant Shohei Otani's wish to pursue move to major leagues

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On Wednesday, Joel Sherman of the New York Post reported that MLB and NPB, Japan's top baseball league, had agreed one a one-year extension of the posting system in which Japanese teams receive a lump-sum of up to $20 million from the MLB team that signs their player.

While the move was expected, it was a major step in the process for the 23-year-old phenom to come to the Major Leagues.

Neither MLB nor the MLBPA has commented on the negotiations, per Morosi, but the expectation is that once the meeting occurs, the wheels will be set in motion on a posting agreement between MLB and Nippon Professional Baseball, where Ohtani has become a star.

Morosi notes sources involved in the negotiations are "optimistic" Ohtani's request may help the sides develop a new posting system altogether for players making the move from Japan to Major League Baseball. According to an official statement released by the club on Friday morning, the Nippon-Ham Fighters have formally announced that the heralded two-way player will indeed be posted this offseason. MLB and NPB are still working through some concerns with the MLB Players Association.

Because he is under 25 and treated like an amateur, Otani has to sign a minor league contract subject to signing bonus pools to enter MLB under baseball's new collective bargaining agreement. "Instead, he wants to prove himself at 23, so teams have to treat him the same way they would a 16-year-old from the Dominican Republic".

Whichever team lands him will immediately bolster its pitching staff and perhaps its lineup as well. He battled ankle and quad injuries this past season, but still hit.332/.403/.540 with eight home runs in 231 plate appearances while throwing 25 1/3 innings with a 3.20 ERA.

Otani, who had ankle surgery last month and is now going through rehabilitation, just completed his fifth season with the Fighters.



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