The Chicago Cubs have long been thought to be an active suitor of Japanese pitcher Shohei Otani. It looks like we might find out just how big a bidder the team is going to be. According to new reports by baseball reporter Joel Sherman, Ohtani could be posted next week. The posting would come in the wake of an agreement that has been reached between the NPB, MLB and the MLBPA.

The posting system agreement has been a stumbling block in getting Otani on the Free Agent market. Once he is indeed on that market, some of the richest teams in baseball are expected to join the bidding for his services.

According to Sherman, the agreement would cover this offseason and then would forge a second deal that would last for the next three years. The only reason there is going to be a wait for Cubs fans is that of the red tape that includes League owners having to ratify the deal.

Chicago Cubs will need to be creative to get Shohei Otani

While there are plenty of indications that the Cubs would love to add Otani to their payroll, the problem is that he's young enough that his free agency is handled differently than some other players that have recently posted from Japan. Otani is only 23 years old, which means that he still qualifies under the IFA rules. That is a big hindrance when it comes to outbidding some of the other teams unless the squad is able to come up with a rather creative way to get Otani to come to the North Side.

The Cubs only have $300,000 to spend on signing bonuses in the IFA thanks to the massive amounts of money they have spent in that area in the last few years. Once the pitcher is signed, he is officially subject to normal service time rules. That could mean that a team like Chicago would offer a longer deal with bigger money on the back end as a kind of enticement for Otani to pick them over someone who can offer a larger signing bonus.

Yankees appear to be the team to beat for Otani

While the Chicago Cubs are certainly interested in Otani, at this point, it appears likely that he's going to be headed to the New York Yankees. They and the Boston Redsox are considered to be the front-runners for his services. The good news here is that the Cubs won't have to worry about facing off against him with any regularity unless they get to the World Series. The bad news is that it likely leaves the team continuing to search for who they can get to bolster a rotation that is currently sitting there with quite a few holes.