Two-way superstar Shohei Otani will leave Japan after this season and will be posted this winter in hopes of landing with an MLB team in 2018, according to Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports.
Otani can be posted in November, after which teams get four days to bid on him with their international signing bonus pool.
Due to his age (under 25) and the terms of MLB's collective bargaining agreement, Otani is unable to be offered more than a $10.1 million signing bonus.
In 51 games with Nippon this season, Otani is hitting .346 with a .416 OBP, seven home runs and 28 RBI. Meanwhile, as a starting pitcher, he has 2.60 ERA and 10.4 strikeout-per-nine rate during 522 1/3 career innings.
According to multiple reports, the Mets were not among the 15 teams to scout Otani in Japan last month. The Yankees, Red Sox, Dodgers, and Nationals were reportedly in attendance.
Matthew Cerrone (Twitter | Instagram | About Me): I'm pretty sure the Mets didn't bother scouting Otani because they spent most of their available pool money when picking up six international free agents (Ronny Mauricio, Adrian Hernandez, Stanley Consuegra, Eduardo Salazar, Patricio Diaz, and Robert Colina) earlier this summer.
From what I can tell, after trading a minor leaguer to Baltimore for $1 million of their pool money, the Mets should have only around $2 million to offer the Japanese superstar. Meanwhile, the Yankees have around $8 million, as do other teams. I may be off on these numbers a bit, but the general concept is correct.
That said, Otani should stay in Japan and wait two more years. At that point, when he'll still be just 25 years old, he will be free of the international signing restriction. And, basically, he'd be a unrestricted free agent able to sign for whatever with whomever. He clearly doesn't agree. So, while it doesn't appear the Mets will be a player for him, someone will... and hopefully it isn't the Nationals.
By the way, during last week's episode of SNY's Meet the MetsCast, Rob Brender, Steve Hofstetter and I discussed Otani, why the Mets did or didn't scout him, and whether they should have...
To listen to the 11-minute conversation about Otani, click play or download it here...