On Friday, Major League Baseball ratified the new posting agreement that opened the door for two-way star Shohei Ohtani to be posted by his Japanese club. That means major league clubs will now have until 11:59 p.m. ET on Dec. 22 to reach an agreement with the top ranked free agent on the market.
It’s worth noting though that while Ohtani is certainly a headliner worthy of the attention he’s been receiving, he’s not the only player expected to be impacted by this new agreement. The Saitama Seibu Lions have announced plans to post right-handed reliever Kazuhisa Makita before the end of the year, and he could quickly become a player of interest.
In addition to Ohtani, MLB announced that RHP Kazuhisa Makita of the Saitama Seibu Lions will be posted on or before December 31st
— Mark Feinsand (@Feinsand) December 1, 2017
At 33, Makita is 10 years older than Ohtani. He’s also only a pitcher, and a relief pitcher at that. That takes a few extra points off the enthusiasm scale. But he’s a pretty darn good one according to those who have scouted him. It’s believed he’ll fit right into an MLB bullpen for the 2018 season if he finds a deal to his liking.
The submarine-style right-hander has spent the entirety of his seven-year career playing for the Lions. Only recently though has he shifted to the bullpen. He’s said to be a perfect fit in the role, offering multi-inning flexibility and the ability to get batters on both sides of the plate out.
Some scouts have even labeled him a bullpen “ace,” and here’s a good look at why.
That was from a 2014 exhibition game against the MLB All-Stars in Japan. Here’s a more recent look and description of his talents.
Shohei Ohtani isn’t the only player that will be getting posted this winter from Japan. Right-hander Kazuhisa Makita, who’s a submarine pitcher, also posted. pic.twitter.com/qXuPl0WgI9
— Max Wildstein (@MaxWildstein) December 1, 2017
Kazuhisa Makita is a multi-inning reliever, 33-years-old, FB sits 79-82 T84, has mix of SL/CH with both hover in mid to high 60'shttps://t.co/C8PbqzorAB
— Taylor Blake Ward (@TaylorBlakeWard) December 2, 2017
Makita posted a 2.30 ERA over 62 2/3 innings in Japan during the 2017 season. He only struck out 35 batters, which might cause some teams to shy away. His fastball sits around 80 mph and he won’t always get the swing-and-miss when needed. Instead, he relies on his deception to get outs, and he’s been very successful doing so. Batters weren’t able to square him up much last season, hitting just four home runs.
Unlike Ohtani, whose age will prevent him from getting a major-league deal, Makita will reportedly be looking for a major-league deal. He’s prepared to return to Japan if he doesn’t land one. Given his age and the uncertainty, it might be tough to find more than a one-year deal. But if someone does sign him that team could end up very happy it did.
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