Major League Baseball will soon find out if 23-year-old Japanese phenom, Shohei Otani, will be made available to teams in the United States.
First, the league Otani plays for in Japan needs to agree to a posting fee with MLB officials. If that gets done, the 23-year-old would be eligible to receive a signing bonus and a minor league contract worth the MLB minimum of $545,000, according to USA Today's Bob Nightengale.
That's where it gets interesting.
Nightengale reports that the Rangers, Yankees and Twins have the most available signing bonus money to offer Otani. The Rangers can give him a 3,535,000 signing bonus, the Yankees can offer $3.25 million and the Twins $3,245,000.
Only three other teams can offer more than $1 million.
What's fascinating is that ESPN's Buster Olney has heard rumors that Otani wants to join a team on the rise rather than an established team, and he named the Twins as a team that fit that mold.
"There have been rumors that he would prefer to be part of a rebuilding effort rather than joining an established power, but nobody really knows if that means he’d pick, say, the Twins over the Dodgers."
The Los Angeles Times reported earlier this week that Otani is so motivated to play in the MLB that he's willing to accept the fact that moving to the U.S. now means he's only eligible for a league minimum contract rather than waiting until he's 25 when he could sign a contract north of $100 million.
So how good is Otani?
He's a pitcher and an outfielder and is known as the Babe Ruth of Japan. He throws 100 mph and bashes home runs all over the park.
MLB Network's Jim Duquette recently rated him as the second-best (potentially) available free agent, just behind All-Star pitcher Yu Darvish.