Nez Balelo wlil have Shohei Otani’s back whenever he decides to come to America.
Otani, the Japanese two-way baseball star, hired Balelo of CAA Sports to serve as his agent in the United States, The Los Angeles Times’ Dylan Hernandez reported Monday, citing multiple people familiar with the situation. Otani’s hiring of Balelo is the clearest indication he’s preparing to take his talents stateside in 2018.
Major League Baseball, the MLB Players’ Association and Nippon Professional Baseball must first agree to a new posting system, which governs player transfers.
“Once that is completed, he has every intention to come to the States this coming season,” a source told Hernandez.
Otani, 23, is one of the most highly touted Japanese players in recent memory and has played the last five seasons with Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters of Japan’s elite Nippon Professional Baseball league. He had a 10-4 record and 1.86 ERA as a starting pitcher in 2016 and batted .322 and hit 22 home runs as a batter.
The New York Yankees and Los Angeles Dodgers have been linked with him and are expected to lead the chase for his services.
Balelo will help guide Otani’s recruitment process in the United States. He also represents, Ryan Braun, Adam Jones, Nori Aoki and Junichi Tazawa.
Thumbnail photo via YouTube/WBSC