Japanese baseball star Shohei Otani will be made available to major league teams, according to Japanese media reports.
Otani’s team, the Nippon Ham Fighters, announced Friday that the highly touted pitcher-outfielder will made available via the posting system, according to the reports.
Otani, 23, is the reigning Pacific League MVP and is 3-2 with a 3.20 ERA this year, while being limited because of thigh and ankle injuries. He is batting .332 in 65 games, with 16 doubles, 8 homers and 31 RBIs.
He has a 42-15 record with a 2.52 ERA and 624 strikeouts in 543 innings over five seasons, in addition to a .286 batting average, with 48 homers and 166 RBIs.
While the posting agreement between MLB and Nippon Professional Baseball expired last week, the sides reportedly agreed several weeks ago to the outlines of a deal that would for this offseason continue the rules of the previous agreement, although no announcement has been made. The rules call for the Japanese club to set a maximum $20 million posting fee, and any MLB club willing to bid that amount would be able to negotiate with Otani for 30 days.
Otani is expected to draw high interest from across the majors, but several teams will able to pay more for Otani’s services than others. The Texas Rangers can agree to a maximum $3,535,000 signing bonus from their pool that covers July 2 through next June 15, according to figures compiled by Major League Baseball and obtained by The Associated Press. The New York Yankees can pay $3.25 million, and the Minnesota Twins $3,245,000.
Earlier this week, Otani selected Nez Balelo of CAA Sports as his agent.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.