Under the new MLB labour contract agreed to last November, Otani is defined as an international amateur because he is not 25 and does not have six years of service in any professional leagues — barring him from signing a lucrative deal and limiting his potential 2018 salary to a major league minimum of $545,000.
Shohei Otani is likely to leave Japan and sign with a Major League Baseball team after this season, multiple reports in Japanese media said Wednesday, a move that would cost the 23-year-old pitcher and outfielder more than $100 million (U.S.).
In his fifth season with the Nippon Ham Fighters, the reigning Pacific League MVP is prized as both a pitcher and hitter. But under restrictions in MLB’s new collective bargaining agreement, his signing bonus would be limited to about $3 million to $4 million, a fraction of the $155 million, seven-year deal that pitcher Masahiro Tanaka received from the New York Yankees before the 2014 season. Otani would have to wait until after the 2019 season to receive a comparable deal in MLB.