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Shohei Otani Is Reportedly Coming To MLB, Despite Its Best Efforts To Keep Him Away

Shohei Otani Is Reportedly Coming To MLB, Despite Its Best Efforts To Keep Him Away
From Deadspin - September 13, 2017

Japanese baseball star Shohei Otani, who is in the midst of a Ruthian season for the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fightersthe two-way stud has a 1.86 ERA and 174 strikeouts in 140 innings, to go along with 27 homers and a .322/.416/.588 triple slashis reportedly ready to play ball in America. Hell be doing so on the cheap.

The leagues new CBA makes it impossible for any international free agent under the age of 25 (Otani is 23) to enjoy the fruits of baseballs free market. Teams are given a hard cap on how much bonus money they are allowed to pay players in this category, and so the most any team would be able to throw at Otani this offseason is about $10 million. This is is unbelievably silly, given that Otani would easily command a contract upwards of $150 million if he were treated like a normal free agent.

Every team in the league is going to want Otani, and they all must be thinking of ways to skirt baseballs dumb rule. The obvious option is for teams to give Otani a handshake promise that they will sign him to a massive contract extension after he plays out his first season on a measly deal. A plan like this would certainly present some risk for Otaniwhat if he suffers a massive injury in his first season and the team backs out of its promise?but its better than him earning peanuts while waiting three years to enter arbitration. Unfortunately, MLB seems poised to block such a workaround, as Yahoos Jeff Passan reports:

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