It was reported Tuesday night that the Mets were considering a pursuit of Japanese two-way phenom, Shohei Otani. Otani has dominated the JPPL in his last two seasons as a pitcher and hitter. On top of that, Otani is only 23-years old and may not even have reached his ceiling yet.
In his last two seasons Otani has combined to hit 30 homers, drove in 98 runs, and slashed .327/.410/.564 in 169 games. A little more than one full MLB season and doing so at 22-23 years old is pretty damn impressive. As mentioned, he also pitches. Those stats over the past two years are 13-6, 2.53 ERA and 203 strikeouts in 165.1 innings pitched. Both numbers are very impressive alone, but when you combine them together in one player, it is unheard of.
Otani would be a great fit for any team, so it is no surprise that Met fans would be drooling over hearing that the front office is considering pursuing this type of talent. Met fans, let’s be real, do we really think Sandy Alderson is going to pull this off? Otani is expected to sign a minor league contract due to the new posting rules. However, a team can use their signing pool money as a signing bonus and the Mets only have $105,000. That amount is very low compared to what the other teams pursuing Otani have.
Sandy Alderson mentioned that baseball is an entertainment business and Otani would definitely help in that aspect. Otani would bring a big Asian crowd to the stadium, as did many Asian-born players have done in the past. However, Alderson said today, “I think the only downside is creating a false set of expectations among fans that have to be tempered. This guy can go to any one of 30 teams.” I think that answers the question in itself. Alderson is just doing his due diligence and the Mets have a far, far shot at signing Shohei Otani.