Japanese star Shohei Ohtani reportedly chooses CAA Sports to represent him in the U.S., a sign he’s ready to play in the majors

Japan’s Shohei Otani (16) pitches during the WBSC Premier 12 semifinal game against South Korea at the Tokyo Dome on Nov. 19, 2015.
(Getty Images)

So it’s looks like Shohei Ohtani is ready to come to the major leagues.

A two-way player who throws 100-mph fastballs and launches 500-foot home runs, Ohtani has chosen CAA Sports to represent him in the United States, according to multiple people familiar with the situation who spoke under the condition of anonymity. Los Angeles-based Nez Balelo will be Ohtani’s lead agent.

Before Ohtani can move to the major leagues, new regulations governing the transfer of players from Japan to the United States will have to be agreed upon by Nippon Professional Baseball, Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Assn. The most recent agreement expired last week.

“Once that is completed, he has every intention to come to the States this coming season,” one person familiar the situation said.


The Dodgers have scouted Ohtani since he was in high school and are expected to heavily pursue him.

Ohtani could be costing himself hundreds of millions of dollars by moving to the major leagues this winter instead of two winters from now. As a player under the age of 25, Ohtani will be treated as if he were an international amateur, meaning he would have to sign a standard minor league contract. The largest bonus he could receive would be somewhere between $3 and $4 million. Many teams, including the Dodgers, would be able to offer him a bonus of only $300,000 as a penalty for spending beyond their designated limits on international amateurs in previous signing periods.

By waiting two years, the Nippon-Ham Fighters star would be free of any financial restrictions and some major league executives estimate he could sign for upwards of $200 million.

But Ohtani is said to be ambivalent about money.

Balelo is best known in Los Angeles as the longtime representative of Andre Ethier. He is also the agent for Ryan Braun and Adam Jones. He has experience working with Japanese players, as he represents Nori Aoki and Junichi Tazawa.