Otani likely to sign with Major League Baseball in costly move

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"I think you'd be concerned a little bit the day before his start, but it does create a unique situation where, if he's able to DH, it kind of opens up another spot on your roster, " Girardi said. I was asked today: 'Could a guy pitch and DH some?' And I think it's possible. I do.

Finding time to put in the necessary work to hit and pitch won't be easy though, Tanaka seemed to indicate.

"I think that he'd probably get a pretty good salary over here, but I think he wants to compete against the best and I think that's great, " Girardi said. But it's where you draw that line of being successful. But under restrictions in MLB's new collective bargaining agreement, his signing bonus would be limited to about $3 million to $4 million, a fraction of the $155 million, seven-year deal that pitcher Masahiro Tanaka received from the New York Yankees before the 2014 season.

Otani signed a one-year, $2.37 million contract with the Fighters in December and said he wanted to move to Major League Baseball after the 2017 season.

Under the old rules, Otani would have been considered a free agent at age 23 and likely sign a contract worth $150 million or more.

Nippon Ham Fighters slugging ace pitcher Shohei Otani's desire to play in the major leagues as soon as possible has not diminished, an informed source said Wednesday.

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"As players we have to go by the rules that Major Leagues makes, so there's nothing really that we can do about it", Tanaka said.

The 23-year-old right-hander, who also has shown great potential as a hitter, will not become eligible for free agency until after the 2021 season.

The 23-year-old has been a staple for the Nippon Ham Fighters since he was 18.

Injuries to his ankle and thigh sidelined Otani for two months early this season and kept him off the mound for a stretch in July and August.

"I can't speak for everybody, but I think a lot of the players that are coming from Japan to play here.it's not so much about the money", Tanaka said.

Otani, commonly referred to as the Japanese Babe Ruth, hit.322 with 22 home runs and 67 RBIs in 104 games and had a 1.86 ERA and 174 strikeouts in 140 innings last season. "You've got to give him a chance - if he's gonna go about doing it".

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