Shohei Otani to New York Yankees Seems All But Inevitable This Offseason
The New York Yankees are doing everything possible to make sure Shohei Otani arrives in the Bronx for the 2018 season.
With an agreement in place between Major League Baseball, the Major League Baseball Players Association and the Japanese league that puts the posting system in place, Shohei Otani coming to the major leagues will be a reality.
Now the obvious question; who will Shohei Otani play for in 2018?
Most people around baseball truly believe that Shohei Otani coming to the New York Yankees is all but inevitable from happening.
A few factors to throw in; Masahiro Tanaka opting in for the remainder of his contract. Tanaka is not only a fellow countrymen with Otani, but he’s also a fellow training buddy of the Yankees star pitcher, which bodes well for them if they need further convincing from a player on the team.
Speaking of fellow countrymen; Hideki Matsui, who played six seasons with the Yankees and won the 2009 World Series MVP Award with the team, is expected to be heavily involved with the negotiations and pursuit for the 23-year-old Shohei Otani.
Matsui, who serves as a special adviser to the Yankees, can use his personal experiences as a member of the Yankees to influence Otani to come from Japan to New York; just like he did back in the winter of 2002. Before Matsui came to the Yankees, he was a rock star in Japan for his success in Japanese baseball and can have a really big impact on Otani choosing where to play next.
While Matsui played for several teams in the major leagues, his loyalties were always with the New York Yankees. He signed a one-day deal with them and retired with them when he hung up his spikes. That loyalty to the Yankees will come in handy when Matsui helps them make their push for Otani.
And if his fellow countrymen aren’t enough, the Yankees have been shedding roster space and gaining extra money. All in all, to make sure they will have every amount possible to land him.
Over the last few days, the Yankees have made several trades. One of which, the Yankees sent first baseman Garrett Cooper and pitcher Caleb Smith to the Miami Marlins. They received a minor league pitcher and $250,000 in international pool money. Hence, the money the Yankees will put towards signing Otani.
With the Collective Bargaining Agreement restricting how much Otani can make, the Yankees can offer around $3.5 million. Which is as much as the Texas Rangers have to offer him. Otani’s team in Japan would still receive $20 million for the posting fee. However, because of Otani’s age, his first major league deal won’t be as big as other Japanese players got in the past.
But Otani would have the chance to make a ton of money off potential endorsement deals in New York; something that might not be available in other markets like Texas. The endorsements alone may end up being more than the deal he gets. That could strongly influence his decision for 2018.
The need for a 23-year-old hitter who can also pitch well goes without saying. By the time Christmas hits, the Yankeees may have a new gift wrapped under their tree. Shohei Otani seems destined to be donning the Yankee pinstripes very soon.