This has to happen, right? That’s the obvious reaction to the news on Monday night that the MLB Players Association extended a soft deadline regarding a new agreement with Japanese Baseball that would allow Shohei Otani to come over here and play in the states next season. As a team executive put it, “If the Babe Ruth of Japan wants to play over here, we’d look like idiots if we couldn’t find a way to make it happen.’’ The executive paused then and said, “But obviously it’s not that simple. This thing is complicated.” At the very least, the 24-hour extension, until 8 p.m. on Tuesday, would seem to indicate progress as negotiations are continuing. And obviously that’s great news for the Yankees, who many baseball people believe to be the favorite to sign Otani — and not because of their money, in this case. That’s what makes this situation so fascinating. Because he’s not yet 25, the MLB collective bargaining agreement severely limits his earning power, no matter which team signs him, which means Otani will be picking a team based on some type of personal preference. But because he wants to hit as well as pitch, American League teams are believed to have an advantage, since it would be much easier for a team to allow Otani to hit as a DH than expose him to injury playing the outfield on days he’s not pitching. And because he won’t be earning hundreds of millions, there is also a belief the famous Yankee brand, which is well-known in Japan, is a factor in terms of what it could mean in endorsement money for Otani.
Shohei Otani to the Yankees seems like an inevitable conclusion after latest developments
New York Daily News | Nov 21