Nippon Ham Fighters to Post Shohei Otani after 2017 Season?
mlbtraderumors.com posted a piece this evening stating that NPB’s Nippon Ham Fighters have announced they will post super-prospect Shohei Otani after the 2017 season. This seems like a real possibility only if Otani made it clear to the Fighters that he wants to be posted.
The only reason for the Fighters to post Otani two years earlier than they reasonably had to would be to avoid him getting hurt. Otherwise, Otani is clearly worth more to the team than the same $20 million they will get for him whether they post him next off-season or three years from now.
Otani cannot be unaware that he is the best player in NPB and that his major league earnings will certainly be greater the younger he leaves for MLB. I would expect him to command a $200 million plus contract next off-season in addition to the posting fee.
After helping the Fighters win the 2016 Nippon Series, as Masahiro Tanaka did before insisting that the Rakuten Golden Eagles post him a few years back, Otani’s ability to successfully demand posting is very high. NPB teams don’t want to look bad to their fan bases by preventing obvious major league talents from going on to greater wealth, fame and professional fulfillment in MLB, particularly when they have reached the top of the mountain in NPB.
I see Otani as strictly a pitcher in MLB, except perhaps for occasional pinch-hitting opportunities if he signs with a National League team. For that reason, though, I’d like to see a National League team sign him, although I expect the Yankees and Red Sox will have a lot to say about that.