Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that a tentative agreement between Major League Baseball, the players’ union, and Nippon Professional Baseball has been reached on the posting system that would allow Japanese superstar Shohei Ohtani to come to the major leagues. It will be another 10 days until the owners ratify the agreement, so the earliest Ohtani can be posted by the Nippon Ham Fighters is December 1. Sherman adds that Ohtani and Kazushisa Makita are the only players that will operate under this posting system this offseason; they have been grandfathered into the old system.
The details, according to Sherman: NPB agreed to a no-pullback position in exchange for a graduating return rate on Japanese players who sign major league contracts in the three offseasons following this one. They will get 29 percent of the value of a player’s contract below $25 million, 17.5 percent for a contract between $25 million and $50 million, and 15 percent above $50 million.
Assuming everything goes according to plan, Ohtani is expected to sign with a major league team by the end of December.
Ohtani, 23, has hit .286/.358/.500 with 48 home runs and 166 RBI in 1,170 plate appearances across parts of five seasons with the Fighters. On the mound, he owns a 2.52 career ERA with 624 strikeouts and 200 walks in 543 innings.
Major League Baseball Players Association executive director Tony Clark met the press late this morning and covered a wide array of topics.
One of them: free agency, which he referred to as being “under attack” based on the slow market for free agents last offseason.
“What the players saw last offseason was that their free-agent rights were under attack on what has been the bedrock of our system,” Clark said. He added that they “have some very difficult decisions to make.” Presumably in the form of grievances and, down the road, a negotiating strategy that seeks to claw back some of the many concessions the union has given owners in the past few Collective Bargaining Agreements. CBAs, it’s worth noting, that Clark negotiated. We’ve covered that territory in detail in the past.
Of more immediate interest was Clark’s comment that the idea of a universal designated hitter is, among players, “gaining momentum.” Clark says “players are talking about it more than they have in the past.” We’ve talked a lot about that as well.
Given that hating or loving the DH is the closest thing baseball has to a religion, no one’s mind is going to be changed by any of this, but I think, practically speaking, it’s inevitable that the National League will have the DH and I think it happens relatively soon. Perhaps in the next five years. The opposition to it at this point is solely subjective and based on tradition. People like pitchers batting and they like double switches and they like the leagues being different because they, well, like it. If the system were being set up today, however, they’d never have it this way and I think even the DH-haters know that well. That doesn’t mean that you can’t dislike a universal DH, but it does mean that you can’t expect the people who run the game to cater to that preference when it makes little sense for them to do it for their own purposes.
Anyway, enjoy convincing each other in the comments about how the side of that argument you dislike is wrong.