Shohei Otani, a star pitcher/outfielder in Japan, signed with Creative Artists Agency to represent him in his transition from the Japanese League to Major League Baseball, according to a report in the Los Angeles Times. Otani joins two other Japanese clients, Nori Aoki and Junichi Tazawa, on the Century City-based agency’s roster.
Sources cited by the Times said Nez Balelo will be Otani’s lead agent.
To make the transfer and play overseas in the United States, an agreement is required between the MLB and Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball league. Once agreed upon, all MLB teams will have the opportunity to pay a $20 million posting fee paid to his current Japanese team, the Nippon Ham Fighters. The posting fee allows then for any team the right to negotiate a contract with Otani.
Just 23 years old, Otani will be treated as an international amateur by MLB bylaws and subject to a standard minor league contract. If he delays his move to the U.S. until he was 25 he could be in line for a $200 million contract as a free agent, according to some major league executives.
It is expected that the Los Angeles Dodgers will make a strong push for the Japanese superstar.
Staff reporter Josh Niv can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (323) 556-8336.