The Shohei Ohtani sweepstakes are almost ready to open in earnest.
It appears every MLB team is interested in, or at least intrigued by, the 23-year-old talent, and MLB Network's Ken Rosenthal said Wednesday on "Hot Stove" that Ohtani "will be signed somewhere by Christmastime":
MLB, the MLB Players Association, and Nippon Professional Baseball reportedly reached a tentative agreement Tuesday on a new posting system, which owners still have a Dec. 1 vote to ratify.
If the deal is accepted, Ohtani - a pitcher/hitter hybrid - would almost assuredly be posted right away, which in conjunction with the 21-day window to negotiate, would set him up to be signed by Christmas.
Because of international free-agent restrictions, Ohtani would need to sign a minor-league deal as an international free agent and receive a signing bonus, after which he would become a team's property for six seasons.
As of Wednesday, the Texas Rangers had the most international signing bonus pool money at $3.535 million, with the New York Yankees - a reported favorite to land Ohtani - a close second at $3.5 million.
Ohtani hit .332/.403/.540 in Japan last season with a 3-2 record and 3.20 ERA in five starts.