By: Stache Staff

No way, Shohei: Mets Interested in Japanese Phenom


The New York Mets would like to improve their odds of winning the 2018 World Series on SBG and other such websites and, since Sports Illustrated didn’t predict so back in 2015, one way of doing so would be signing Japanese sensation Shohei ‘Two-Way’ Otani, otherwise known as the “Babe Ruth of Japan.”

We like our nickname better. It rhymes. According to the New York Daily News, many industry sources report that the Mets may be willing to pursue Otani when and if he’s officially on the market. The young Nippon is in the crosshairs of such powerhouses as the Red Sox, the Yankees, and the Dodgers but, since this would be an instance in which money is no object, the Mets are presumably all like, “what the heck, what have we got to lose?”

The 23-year-old pitcher and outfielder is so eager to play in the big leagues that he’d do it for free, nay, he would pay to be able to do so. And as it turns out, given Otani’s age and nationality, his signing bonus would be, per the new MLB collective bargaining agreement, limited by the international player signing pool to any given team’s remaining international signing pool money, that is to say, approximately $3.5 million. He would then be, to further soften the blow to the team’s salary cap, signed to a minor league contract. That is all well and good, but the fact that the kid doesn’t care about money – though $3.5 million is still enough to make a pretty damn good living – doesn’t mean that his current team doesn’t.

As a matter of fact, the MLB is currently in the midst of negotiating, with its Japanese counterpart, the NPB (Nippon Professional Baseball, if you’re not into the whole brevity thing), a $20 million posting fee for Otani’s team, the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters. Sounds like the name of a Tokusatsu movie. That money, mind you, wouldn’t come out of the Mets’, or any other team’s for that matter, pockets. That would be just for the rights to negotiate a deal with Otani, who, under old international rules, would have made no less than nine figures, a prohibitive quantity for the Mets’ salary cap (about $155 million).

If the posting fee hurdle is cleared, it would be before next month’s Winter Meetings, and then the Metsies and any other interested parties can make their intentions official. The Mets would face pretty stiff competition, but do have the advantage of being New York-based. A big market like NY would allow Otani to supplement his income via sponsorships. Then again, the Yankees are obviously also New York-based, so it may not be after all much of an advantage. Another point which could be in the Mets’ favour is that Otani is represented Creative Artists Agency (CAA), which clients include current Mets such as Yoenis Cespedes, Noah Syndergaard, and Jacob deGrom, as well as Tim Tebow. Otani has a 2.52 ERA in 543 innings with the Nippon-Ham Fighters, and a career .286 batting average with a .358 on-base percentage and .500 slugging percentage.

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