Executives throughout Major League Baseball are reportedly expecting a "layers-deep review" of Shohei Ohtani's recruitment once he signs with a team this winter.
According to ESPN.com's Buster Olney, that expectation has been fueled by a belief that clubs could be breaking a rule MLB outlined in its posting agreement with the Nippon Baseball League that explicitly outlawed financial discussions beyond the scope of Ohtani's entry-level contract.
Specifically, Olney reported teams were told they "could attempt to persuade Ohtani to join based on the merits of their respective organizations and their cities, but they were warned against discussing future contracts and business relationships, and against third-party machinations—paying off someone who might have influence with Ohtani, for example, or making quid-pro-quo promises outside of the rules."
An anonymous team executive also told Olney commissioner Rob Manfred has given the subject of cheating "unprecedented" attention.
Ohtani, 23, is expected to make a decision about his future soon.
According to FanRag Sports' Jon Heyman, that announcement "could possibly come by early next week" after the two-way Japanese standout met with the Los Angeles Dodgers, Los Angeles Angels, San Francisco Giants, Seattle Mariners, Texas Rangers, Chicago Cubs and San Diego Padres earlier this week.
Financially speaking, Ohtani will be subject to the terms of a minor-league contract and an international pool signing bonus since he's not yet 25 years old.
As things stand, the Rangers ($3.5 million) and Mariners ($2.5 million) have the biggest signing bonuses to offer, per MLB.com's Manny Randhawa.
The Angels clock in a shade lower at $2.3 million, while the other four club have just $300,000 at their disposal.