APNewsBreak: MLB approves Japan deal, allowing Ohtani bids

FILE- THIS Nov. 11, 2016, file photo shows Team Japan, from left, manager Hiroki Kokubo, infielder Tetsuto Yamada, infielder Ryosuke Kikuchi and designated hitter Shohei Ohtani and infielder Sho Nakata standing during a ceremony prior to their international exhibition series baseball game against Mexico at Tokyo Dome in Tokyo. A person familiar with the agreement tells The Associated Press that Major League Baseball, its Japanese counterpart and the American players' union agreed Tuesday, Nov. 21, 2017, to a new posting system that could allow Japanese star pitcher-outfielder Shohei Ohtani to be put up for bid next week. (AP Photo/Koji Sasahara, File)

Koji Sasahara

NEW YORK (AP) — Major league teams were given homework this weekend by Shohei Ohtani.

The agent for the star pitcher and outfielder asked for written explanations in English and Japanese on how Ohtani would fit into each organization intending to bid and what makes the team attractive, according to details obtained by The Associated Press.

The memo from Nez Balelo, co-head of CAA Baseball, was distributed to all 30 teams by the commissioner's office late Friday along with materials for the Dec. 1 vote on a new posting agreement between Major League Baseball and Nippon Professional Baseball. If the deal is approved, the 23-year-old is expected to be put up for bid later that day or the following day.

Balelo's memo asks for a team to evaluate Ohtani's talent as a pitcher and as a hitter; to explain its player development, medical training and player performance philosophies and facilities; to describe its minor league and spring training facilities; to detail resources for Ohtani's cultural assimilation into the team's city; to demonstrate a vision for how Ohtani could integrate into the team's organization; and to tell Ohtani why the team is a desirable place to play.

Each team was asked to provide its answers in both languages as soon as possible. Clubs were told not to include any financial terms of a possible contract.

The Nippon Ham Fighters of Japan's Pacific League are expected to set the posting price at the $20 million maximum, and any big league team meeting that price would have 21 days to negotiate a deal. The money is paid only if a contract is agreed to.

Because of restrictions in MLB's new labor contract, any agreement must be for a minor league contract subject to remaining amounts in each team's 2017-18 international signing bonus pool. Texas has the most available at $3,535,000, followed by the New York Yankees ($3.5 million), Minnesota ($3.07 million) and Pittsburgh ($2,266,750).

Other teams viewed as possibilities include Seattle ($1,557,500) and the Los Angeles Dodgers ($300,000).

Ohtani was the 2016 Pacific League MVP and was 3-2 with a 3.20 ERA this year, limited because of a thigh injury and a hurt ankle that required surgery Oct. 12. He hit .332 in 65 games with 16 doubles, eight homers and 31 RBIs.

He has a 42-15 record with a 2.52 ERA and 624 strikeouts in 543 innings over five seasons, and a .286 batting average with 48 homers and 166 RBIs.

Under MLB's labor contract, he would not be eligible for a major league contract until he is 25 — after the 2019 season.

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