The New York Yankees are entering the offseason with adding a starting pitcher in mind but they are unlikely to sign one via free agency. However, the latest MLB rumors suggest that the Yankees could sign Japanese ace Shohei Otani if he gets posted by his NPB team Hokkaido Nippon Ham-Fighters.
The top names on this winter’s free agent market of starting pitchers are Rich Hill and Jeremy Hellickson. Both pitchers can fill out the rotation but they are no considered as top of the line starters. But one name the Yankees could go after is Otani, who is a 22-year-old right-hander with immense potential.
“The New York Yankees are once again unlikely to spend big on the free-agent market, but they would almost certainly make an exception for 22-year-old Japanese right-hander Shohei Otani,” Evan Halpine-Berger of Yanks Go Yard opined.
However, it should be noted that the Nippon Ham-Fighters have not indicated that they will be posting Otani this winter. But the player has an agreement with his team that he will be allowed to leave if wants to make the jump to the MLB.
According to SB Nation, Shohei Otani is one of the best pitching prospects in all of baseball and he is almost in the same category as Julio Urias and Lucas Giolito. He is expected to be courted by teams such as the Yankees, Los Angeles Dodgers, Chicago Cubs and Boston Red Sox.
“In Shohei Otani, we appear to have an ace pitcher that was created in a laboratory. The four-pitch mix is obscene in nature, his command and sequencing are precociously present, and he’s said to be a high-character grinder that loves to compete,” the report noted.
Halpine-Berger pointed out that Otani could be worth more than $200 million if he gets posted by the Ham Fighters. He thinks that the Yankees should offer him a 10-year, $220 million deal, which could be a historic contract.
It should be noted that these are just MLB rumors at the moment and nothing has been confirmed. Nevertheless, the Yankees have a history of signing Japanese pitchers as they gave Masahiro Tanaka a seven-year, $155 million contract in 2014.
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