The player that could provide an offseason splash for the Boston Red Sox has yet to play a game in Major League Baseball.
Shohei Otani, the 23-year-old Japanese star who can both pitch and hit, is set to come to play in MLB to the tune of about $20 million. In 2017, the lefty-hitter put together a .332 batting average over 231 plate appearances. In five seasons of pitching, he’s 42-15 with a 2.52 ERA over 85 appearances (82 starts).
And it looks as though the Red Sox could be one of the teams submitting the $20 million bid for Otani, per WEEI’s Rob Bradford.
The consensus appears that while Otani can both pitch and hit, he would eventually have to settle into one role given the sheer workload that would come with being both a pitcher and position player. An American League general manager told Nick Cafardo of The Boston Globe, however, that he is encouraged by the multifaceted ability of the player translating to MLB.
“The fact he’s already (pitched and hit) at a high level (in Japan) leads me to believe he has a chance to be able to do it in the majors. Now at some point I would think the player would decide that he could only do one or the other. I would think that it would get too much for him physically and mentally to do it for a substantial length of time.”
The catch, however, is the Red Sox do not have much in the way of a signing bonus for Otani. Teams can only offer what they have left in their international free agent pools, as well as the league minimum. In that case, as Cafardo notes, the Red Sox could offer just $462,000, whereas other contending teams like the Rangers could offer as much as $3.335 million.
But it appears, however, as though the talks won’t start and end with Otani’s signing bonus.
Good news for the Red Sox, indeed, should they be unable to finagle a trade or marquee free-agent signing within the league.
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