Japanese phenom Shohei Ohtani is now available to Major League Baseball teams

  • Japanese phenom Shohei Ohtani is now available to Major League Baseball teams

Japanese phenom Shohei Ohtani is now available to Major League Baseball teams

On Friday afternoon, Major League Baseball clubs ratified a new posting system for foreign players. Foreign players are not eligible for major league contracts until they turn 25 and have six seasons of professional experience.

The previous posting system, which expired on November 1, didn't have the complicated structure that this one does. The fee will be 20 percent of the first $25 million of a major league contract and the percentage drops to 17.5 percent of the next $25 million and 15 percent of any amount over $50 million.

Ohtani has a desire to both hit and be a starting pitcher in Major League Baseball. The price: a $20 million posting fee to the Nippon-Ham Fighters, Ohtani's former team, and a relatively small bonus that falls within the parameters of the league's worldwide bonus pool. The new system has a graduated release fee, which depends on the value of the total contract signed by the posted player.

MLB.com's Jon Morosi reports that executives around baseball believe Ohtani would rather sign with a team that does not now have a Japanese player on it.

Following the deal with Nippon Professional Baseball, Ohtani was put up for bid by the Pacific League's Nippon Ham Fighters for the maximum $20 million posting fee.

All 30 teams could potentially be in the mix, since worldwide signing caps significantly limit the price of the 23-year-old. In just 21 days, we'll know for sure which team he'll sign with.

Photo Shohei Ohtani in action for the Nippon Ham Fighters in Japan in October.