Mets Reportedly Considering Pursuing Shohei Otani

Alec Nathan@@AlecBNathanFeatured ColumnistNovember 14, 2017

Designated hitter Shohei Ohtani of Japan follows his solo homer in the fifth inning during the international friendly baseball match between Japan and the Netherlands at the Tokyo Dome on November 12, 2016. / AFP / KAZUHIRO NOGI        (Photo credit should read KAZUHIRO NOGI/AFP/Getty Images)
KAZUHIRO NOGI/Getty Images

The New York Mets could reportedly soon enter the market for two-way Japanese talent Shohei Otani.

According to Newsday's Marc Carig and David Lennon, "the Mets have not ruled out making a pitch" to Otani since they would be able to afford him under Major League Baseball's new international compensation system, which states "his signing bonus must come from a team's international bonus pool, which effectively caps his compensation to $3.5 million on top of a minor-league deal."

However, the team that ultimately lands Otani will have to pay the Nippon Hokkaido-Ham Fighters his posting fee, which is expected to clock in at the maximum of $20 million.

Citing league sources, WEEI's Rob Bradford reported Monday the Boston Red Sox "appear to be primed to be among the teams submitting the $20 million posting fee when clearance is given to start that process."

The New York Yankees also appear to have interest in the 23-year-old because of his pitching prowess and power-packed swing.

"Generally, if you have someone capable of doing something like that, it gives you more roster flexibility and roster choices," general manager Brian Cashman said Monday, per the New York Daily News' Mike Mazzeo. "It's kind of like having a 26th man when everyone else is playing with 25, just because of the duality of that particular player."

According to documents obtained by the Associated Press (via USA Today), the Yankees ($3.25 million), Texas Rangers ($3.53 million), and Minnesota Twins ($3.24 million) can offer Otani the most lucrative signing bonuses.

On the other end of the spectrum, the Mets can offer $105,000, while the Red Sox have $462,000 at their disposal.

Last season with the Nippon-Ham Fighters, the left-handed slugger Otani slashed .332/.403/.540 with eight home runs and 31 RBI in 231 plate appearances.

On the mound, Otani went 3-2 with a 3.20 ERA, 1.263 WHIP, 29 strikeouts and 19 walks over 25.1 innings.

Looking ahead, Otani said he hopes to discuss the possibility of operating as a two-way player once he arrives in the states.

"I don't know if I'll be given the chance to be able to do it, so first of all, I'll have to listen to what they say," he said, per MLB.com's Oliver Macklin. "You can't go after something like that unless you're in the right circumstance. It's not just about what I want to do."