Shohei Otani is one of the biggest name players on the free agent market this offseason, despite not having played a second in the MLB. For those of you that don’t know, the 23 year old Japanese star is a 2 way player, that is outstanding both on the mound, and as a hitter/fielder.
Now, most teams and executives view him as a pitching prospect, but it is a bit more complicated than that. He is still too young to sign a mega-contract, which is what he would get if he were to wait a year to come over. Instead, Otani is going to get a rookie deal, the standard 6 years, with 3 pre-arbitration making around 550K per year, and the last 3 in arbitration. This means every team has a legitimate shot at signing him, and it makes it very tough to set yourself apart.
The newest rumors involving the Cubs are that they are willing to let him hit and play outfield on his non-starting days as a pitcher, which could potentially give the Cubs a huge leg up. He wants to be a 2-way player, but that isn’t really something that happens in the MLB. If the Cubs really are interested in letting that happen, it will probably be the biggest advantage they have over other teams.
Another nice advantage the Cubs have is that they’ve signed Japanese free agents in the past, and that Theo is a very good recruiter. The Cubs are in desperate need for some pitching, so this signing could make their offseason. For now, we’ll just have to wait and see how it plays out, but it’s certainly a possibility.