The hope is that Major League Baseball and Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball will finalize a new posting system at some point in early December, MLB Chief Legal Officer Dan Halem tells reporters including Joel Sherman of the New York Post (Twitter link).

Until that comes to pass, Japanese sensation Shohei Ohtani will not be able to begin the process of moving to the majors. At this point, an agreement on the system seems to be all that stands in the way of what promises to be a fascinating posting.

As Newsday’s David Lennon reminds us on Twitter, it took until December 10th for a new posting agreement to be struck back in 2013, paving the way for Masahiro Tanaka to finally sign about six weeks later. There’s no particular reason to think that Ohtani’s own signing process will follow a similar trajectory; if anything, he’ll likely have quite a few more serious suitors to consider.

Barring a big surprise, then, there won’t really be much of an indication of where Ohtani could be headed when the Winter Meetings take place in mid-December.