Will Major League Baseball See Shohei Ohtani in 2018?

The Dodgers are in a good position this offseason, not needing to make any huge acquisitions over the winter months. They had the best record in baseball last season, and most every player will be back, with a few exceptions here and there.

There is, however, one intriguing player that could be available soon, that we briefly touched on in Friday’s article, and that is Japanese phenom Shohei Otani. The dual position player pitches and plays outfield, and loves to hit. He has stated that he would like to be able to do both with whatever team may sign him in the majors.

Being a player from Japan that has been playing with Nippon Professional Baseball, there are some rules to Ohtani being posted for major league teams to be able to pursue signing him. The MLBPA has some issues currently with this system, and has imposed a deadline of 8:00 pm EST Monday for these issues to be resolved.

First, the MLBPA believes that the posting period from the Japanese clubs is way too long. It is currently from November 1st to February 1st. MLBPA thinks that this can interfere with free agency, and would like to see it shorted from November 1st to November 15th. Secondly, if a Japanese player is over the age of 25, the club that he currently plays for can decide that if the offer from a major league team is not good enough, they can withdraw the post. The Japanese club currently gets 20% of the what the player heading to the US signs for. Thirdly, if the player is under 25 years old, the Japanese club gets extra money if the player reaches the major leagues within two years of his posting. The MLBPA is concerned that this will lead to a manipulation of service time.

This was all in the past posting system agreement, and that contract expired November 1st. As of early Monday morning, no progress had been made on the changes to the system.

Ohtani is only 23 years old, and could wait two more years to make the jump to the major leagues. Some have speculated that by trying to make the move now, he is missing out on a $200 million-plus contract that could await him after he has turned 25. Because he is under that age, he is below the designation as an international amateur player, and that limits the amount of money that clubs can offer him.

Perhaps Ohtani is worried about injuries that could happen in the next two years—perhaps hampering his standing with MLB teams. He did deal with some quad and ankle issues over the course of the 2017 season, limiting his playing time. In that shortened season, his slash line was .322/.403/.540 over 231 plate appearances, while he pitched only 25-1/3 innings with a 3.20 ERA. In 2016, he was the Pacific League MVP, pitching 140 innings with a 1.86 ERA and 174 strikeouts. At the plate he hit .322/.416/.588 with 22 home runs.

Over the summer, the Dodgers sent a scout team, including Orel Hershiser, to Japan to watch the Japanese star. If and when Ohtani finally gets posted, teams will be clamoring for a chance to have him on their team. Moving to the US to play from Japan does take some adjustment, as Japanese pitchers only pitch once a week. Ohtani could learn from current Dodger pitcher Kenta Maeda on how best to make that adjustment. At the moment, though, it doesn’t look like the posting agreements will get hammered out, so we all might have to wait two years to see this duel threat for ourselves.

(FOLLOW ANDY ON TWITTER: @DODGERSANDYINPA)

 

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Mixed Signals Coming from Dodgers on Eve of Trade Deadline

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(Mandatory Credit: Jesse Rieser)

If there’s one thing that can be said about the management crew of the Dodgers during the weeks leading up to the 2017 non-waiver trade deadline, it would be the fact that there are zero clues being left behind as to what intentions the club has in terms of upgrading the team. Outside of a few minor league additions in Luke Farrell and Luis Ysla — all in exchange for cash — the front office is seemingly flying under the radar in trade talks, or at least that’s what most fans think.

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Dodgers Trade Rumors: Catching Up on a Few of the Latest Rumblings

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(Mandatory Credit: Louis DeLuca – SportsDay/Dallas News)

Though it’s been several days since we’ve discussed any rumors surrounding the Dodgers and the 2017 non-waiver trade deadline, there hasn’t been a shortage of hypothetical theories from pundits around the game, despite a handful believing Los Angeles is so deep that the club may decide to not upgrade at all.

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5 Reasons Why Dodgers Should Pursue Zach Britton Before 2017 Trade Deadline

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(Mandatory Credit: Patrick McDermott/USA TODAY Sports)

While the Dodgers have been extremely quiet so far during the weeks leading up to the 2017 non-waiver trade deadline, the silence doesn’t necessarily mean the front office isn’t working hard to negotiate a trade or two in order to upgrade an already stacked 25-man roster. If there is one departmental weakness on the club, it could be the vulnerability of the bullpen, despite the NL-leading 2.90 ERA. Furthermore, it’s apparent that the team could benefit from the acquisition of an elite lefty specialist, and nobody fits the bill better than Zach Britton of the Orioles. And we’re here to tell you five reasons why.

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Dodgers Appear Content in Waiting Out Trade Deadline

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The Dodgers are heading into Chicago to face the White Sox for a two game set while riding a nine game winning streak, and Clayton Kershaw will make his first start of the second half. Will the Dodgers ever lose again? It’s quite the popular rhetorical question on social media these days. The answer, of course, is yes. Teams do not win every game that they play. But the way this team is clicking, all things just seem to keep falling into place.

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Digging Deeper into the Dodgers’ Need for Bullpen Help

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(Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson/USA TODAY Sports)

In Saturday’s column, we took a look around the farm system of the Dodgers and outlined a handful of potential pitchers the club could conceivably utilize for the stretch run of the regular season. But while there’s a good chance the Dodgers do indeed call on one of the youngsters we mentioned, it still doesn’t solve the team’s problem of not having a reliable lefty relief specialist.

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Dodgers Bullpen: 3 Potential Internal Additions for Second Half of Season

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With the 2017 non-waiver trade deadline almost at the two-week mark, much of the recent chatter in the Dodgers‘ camp has been about potentially acquiring help for the bullpen. Plenty of prospective additions have been tossed around the baseball blogosphere thus far, however, if the availability of some of the better relievers eventually dissipates, there may be a few options that the club could decide to utilize from within. And while much of the speculation has suggested the need for a left-handed pitcher, it just might be one of the righty kids on the farm who makes the biggest difference in the end.

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Dodgers Weighing Multiple Options as 2017 Trade Deadline Approaches

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And so the second half, and the trade cycle, of the 2017 season begins. The Chicago Cubs kicked it off with a trade with their cross city partners, acquiring Jose Quintana from the White Sox for two of their top prospects, plus one other. Quintana had been on the Dodgers‘ radar for the last season and a half. The reigning World Series champs obviously felt they needed to jump to rush to acquire who they thought could help their team.

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Dodgers 40-Man Roster May Have Different Look After Trade Deadline

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Even if the Dodgers don’t make a huge splash before next month’s non-waiver trade deadline, the club’s 40-man roster may take on a bit of a different look before the big league 25-man rosters expand in early September.

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Should Dodgers Pursue Offensive Help at 2017 Trade Deadline?

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With less than two months remaining until MLB’s 2017 non-waiver trade deadline, we knew it would be only a matter of time before the Dodgers surfaced among clubs that are likely to show trading activity during the coming weeks. In Wednesday’s column, we made note of how several media outlets believe that Los Angeles will be aggressive on the pitching market, yet based on the squad’s recent propensity to fall into frequent offensive stupors, the management crew could be interested in seeking offensive help as well.

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