The possibility of Shohei Otani making the jump to North America now seems a little more real.
The coveted Japanese baseball star hired Creative Artists Agency (CAA) to represent him as he weighs a move to MLB. Nez Balelo will be the lead agent, according to Dylan Hernandez of the LA Times.
Otani is a unique talent due to his ability to impact a game as both a hitter and a pitcher. He was limited to 65 games this season due to injury, but managed to slash .332/.403/.540 with eight home runs and 31 RBIs. As a pitcher, he was 3-2 with a 3.20 ERA and 29 strikeouts in five starts.
Because the previous posting agreement between MLB and Nippon Professional Baseball recently expired, the sides are in the process of discussing a new deal. In the meantime, there’s no clear path from Japan to MLB for Otani.
If the 23-year-old decides to make the jump to the majors in 2018, he will be subjected to bonus restrictions that apply to international players under 25 years old. For a more in-depth explanation of these rules and Otani’s earning potential click here.
CAA’s client list includes Ryan Braun, Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Adam Jones, and fellow Japanese players Nori Aoki and Junichi Tazawa.