Major League Baseball owners voted unanimously Friday to approve a new posting agreement with their Japanese counterparts, a move that allowed bidding to start for coveted pitcher and outfielder Shohei Ohtani.
Following the deal with Nippon Professional Baseball, Ohtani was put up for bid by the Pacific League’s Nippon Ham Fighters for the maximum $20 million posting fee.
That opened a window for the 23-year-old to reach agreement on a contract with an MLB team until 11:59 p.m. EST on Dec. 22.
Under MLB’s new collective bargaining agreement, Ohtani is limited to a minor league contract subject to a team’s signing bonus pool.
The maximum bonus he could get is $3,535,000.
The top teams are:
- Rangers ($3,535,000)
- Yankees ($3.5 million)
- Twins ($3.07 million)
- Pirates ($2,266,750)
- Mariners ($1.557,500)
- Marlins ($1.49 million)
- Angels ($1.35 million)
Ohtani was in Los Angeles, a person familiar with his location said. That person spoke on condition of anonymity because no announcement was made.
"The Japanese Babe Ruth" is the reigning Pacific League MVP and was 3-2 with a 3.20 ERA this year, limited because of a thigh injury and a hurt ankle that required surgery Oct. 12. He hit .332 in 65 games with 16 doubles, eight homers and 31 RBIs.
He 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.