As first brought to my attention by Yahoo’s Jeff Passan via Bleacher Nation’s Brett Taylor, it appears the Nippon-Ham Fighters will be posting living legend Shohei Otani following the 2017 season. This according to a report from Sponichi (Sports Nippon, Japan’s first daily sports newspaper) that was published on Yahoo! Japan Sunday evening.
For more on the story we turn to our intrepid international reporter, Google Translate, who has the details. You’ll have to bear with me here because this is a case in which the term “lost in translation” is seriously underselling the digital conversion of the text in question. Despite the obvious language gaps, though, it’s pretty easy to make out what the article is saying.
For those of you who’d prefer to get straight to the meat and potatoes, I’ve highlighted a few passages:
Nippon Ham is that tolerate the major challenge in the posting system to come off in contract renewal negotiations with the 5-day Shohei Otani pitcher (22) four days, was found. As a result of consultation with team management side, praised the contribution of the past four years from joining. Based also training policy was presented at the time he joined the negotiations, it appears to have led to the acceptance. Again to confirm the seat in Otani principal intention of the negotiations, the major challenge intention is firm, unusual early challenge of high school five years of off is realized.
Finally, that time came. But the realization of a dream of dual wield Otani. Team will use the posting system after next season, it was supposed to be an admission that the major challenge. In the seat of the contract renewal negotiations five days after confirming the intention to Otani himself, it is the direction that indicates the intention of the baseball team.
Use of the posting system, which until last year the mainstream become exercisable overseas FA rights. If from the example, use is 20 years off after four years, the same system available after the next season of the fifth year can be said to be extremely unusual. After there in the background was nominated draft first place in 12 years, but the team article titled was presented at the time he joined the negotiations “signpost to the dream.” For Hanamaki Higashi (Iwate) Otani had expressed direct major challenge from, and those who challenge gained experience in Japan is likely to succeed description. Nippon Ham containing what appealed to the “shortcut to measure”, Kuriyama director was also described as “that keep among up to go to the major.”
Also time of Transfers, baseball team Darvish believes on the basis of the seven years of the (now Rangers), the growth rate of Otani is determined that five years is the best of timing as has also exceeded the Darvish. Posting a year ago tolerated, major league side to seem there is also a consideration that to prepare a preparatory period of one year to accept, is to Otani own next year 1 year also a preparation period to the major challenge.
Baseball team in the seat of the contract renewal negotiations, to confirm the intention of the person again. For major challenge Otani “(feelings) at all has not changed,” and talk to, is certainly Transfers of coming off. This means that next season is the final year of dual wielding in Japan. Japan fastest of the fifth year of the “Road to dream” in posting use Otani of 5 days, begin to see clearly.
Nippon Ham handed a booklet entitled “Study of early life overseas in signpost Japan sports to Shohei Otani kun dream” in joining negotiations on 12 November 10. In A4 size 25 pages and those that also extends to five separate sheet shows the example of South Korea of promising players, et al., Directly from flax, it pointed out that there is no example of a big league promotion in major challenge player. Overseas challenge from brushing technology in the J-League was also accompanied by data that most in football. Article was published in the team official website after.
It’s difficult to suss out exactly what the article is saying, but I think I’m reading that Otani asked to be posted in order to fulfill his dream and that the team acquiesced rather than have bigger issues with future contract negotiations. Furthermore, it seems to be saying that Otani is better at this point than Yu Darvish was at a comparable age and that five years in NPB will see him at his peak. With four years already logged, this next season will serve as preparation for the jump to MLB.
This is big and I am much excite. After the initial rumors that the Cubs were expected to aggressively pursue the Japanese superstar, changes to the CBA meant that he might not be able to come to Major League Baseball for three more years. Then came reports that the various parties involved might be willing and able to bend the rules for Otani and, presumably, other such transcendent talents.
If such concessions are not made, Otani would be accepting a massive reduction in earnings. That’s great for whatever team signs him, but it’s hard to believe that a guy who some have projected could garner $200M+ would be willing to take a fraction of that. I suppose, in true unicorn fashion, he could be that rare beast who cares nothing for money and just wants to fulfill a dream.
The report from Sponichi would appear to indicate that Nippon-Ham knows something of the willingness of MLB and the players association to make this work. That’s more a translation of motive than the words above. I suppose it’s also possible the team isn’t fully aware of the restrictions imposed by the new CBA. Or they don’t care that their star pitcher’s earning power will be significantly limited and they just want to collect their $20 million posting fee.
Finally, there’s the possibility that this is simply a way for the team to appease its star player. Even though the posting fee is only paid if the player agrees to a contract with an MLB team within 30 days, that fee is the same no matter what kind of a deal Otani signs. So Nippon-Ham could just be like, “Fine, dude, we’ll post you. Have fun with those international caps and we’ll see you back here in 2018.”
As with pretty much any story in which nuance is involved, I would imagine the truth lies somewhere in the middle of all this. While it’s doubtful Otani’s current team has gotten ironclad assurance that he’ll be granted full free agency status, I’m guessing they’re pretty confident in the ability of their American colleagues to form a loophole. Making the announcement now is a show of good faith by Nippon-Ham to Otani and it provides ample time for an amendment to the CBA to be crafted.
For the rest of us, or at least for me, this is like a chef throwing a little garlic in the pan to get tongues wagging in the dining room. This savory nugget is going to take a while to reach the table, so it’s a good thing the air is already redolent with the Winter Meeting feast. Just the same, I think I’m going to start banging my silverware on the table and demanding service here pretty soon.