TOKYO (AP) — Japanese pitcher Shohei Otani says he could move to Major League Baseball after the 2017 season.
The 22-year-old righthander, who has also shown potential as a hitter, signed a $2.37 million contract for next season with the Nippon Ham Fighters on Monday.
Otani will not become eligible for free agency until after the 2021 season and will need the Fighters’ approval to negotiate with a major league club through the posting system before that time.
Otani says ”we discussed the possibility of me going. … The club will respect my wishes whenever I decide I want to go.”
Otani went 10-4 as a pitcher and batted .322 with a career-high 22 home runs this season for the Fighters.