shohei otani

After two days of frantic negotiation (and fevered incremental reporting), Major League Baseball, the MLB Players Association and Nippon Professional Baseball reportedly have an agreement in place to allow Japanese star Shohei Ohtani to come stateside.

The New York Post’s Joel Sherman reported Tuesday evening that the sides had agreed upon a posting system that, if ratified by MLB owners, will make Ohtani available to MLB teams within 10 days. The involved parties had previously quibbled over various details, including whether Japanese franchises could “pull back” players who become available as free agents, when a player could be posted and what percentage of a player’s MLB salary would go to his former team.

Sherman’s Twitter feed has details of the agreement, if you’re interested in the minutiae, but the big story is that the path is now clear for Ohtani to come to the Majors. Per Sherman, he will be posted next Friday or Saturday, allowing any interested team to offer the $20 million fee and begin negotiating with the 23-year-old pitcher-hitter.

Though Ohtani’s free agency has been a major headache to this point, the process will be worth it for whatever team signs him. The former NPB MVP is a potential top-of-the-rotation pitcher who hopes to DH or pinch-hit when he’s not on the mound. The moment he is posted, he will become one of best free agents available his winter. And even better for his future employer, Ohtani will be subject to the typical rookie wage scale, with his signing bonus capped by international spending rules. In other words, someone can sign arguably the best player on the market, a potential superstar younger than Corey Seager, for a small fraction of his value.

Basically, Tuesday’s reported agreement is a win for all parties involved. Assuming the owners ratify the deal, MLB gets a possible star, American fans get to watch an athlete with a truly unique skillset, NPB teams get to profit off the players who abandon them, and Ohtani gets his shot to play in America.

About Alex Putterman

Alex is a writer and editor for The Comeback and Awful Announcing. He has written for The Atlantic, VICE Sports, MLB.com, SI.com and more. He is a proud alum of Northwestern University and The Daily Northwestern. You can find him on Twitter @AlexPutterman.