How 'Japan's Babe Ruth' may revolutionize American baseball

"Babe Ruth" is coming back to Major League Baseball — but it's probably not the one you're thinking of.

With his path now clear, Shohei Ohtani, the 23-year old phenom known as "Japan's Babe Ruth" is looking to play in the MLB in 2018.

Ohtani's agent has reportedly already reached out to all 30 MLB teams, asking each interested club to submit a presentation on why Ohtani should play there. Ohtani's expected to receive proposals from all 30 teams and collect a huge signing bonus.

Teams believe Ohtani has unique value because he can produce as both a pitcher and a hitter, which is pretty rare in the MLB. For context, in 2016, Ohtani won the MVP award in Japan's best league, racking up top-10 numbers in almost every major stat category.

Yeah, that's both pitching and hitting. This hasn't been done in Major League Baseball, at least in the past century.

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Shohei Ohtani through his career
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Shohei Ohtani through his career
SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA - AUGUST 31: Shohei Otani of Japan reacts in the third inning during the 18U Baseball World Championship Group B match between Canada and Japan at Mokdong Stadium on August 31, 2012 in Seoul, South Korea. (Photo by Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images)
SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA - AUGUST 31: Shohei Otani of Japan pitches in the second inning during the 18U Baseball World Championship Group B match between Canada and Japan at Mokdong Stadium on August 31, 2012 in Seoul, South Korea. (Photo by Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images)
This picture taken on July 26, 2012 shows Shohei Otani, an 18-year-old Hanamaki Higashi High School studentm after he lost a baseball game the northern Japanese city of Morioka, Iwate prefecture. It was reported on October 21, 2012 that Otani has decided to try his hand in the Major Leagues in the US, making the jump after his high school graduation. JAPAN OUT AFP PHOTO / JIJI PRESS (Photo credit should read JIJI PRESS/AFP/Getty Images)
SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA - SEPTEMBER 06: Shohei Otani of Japan looks on in the ninth inning during the 18U Baseball World Championship match between Japan and South Korea at Mokdong Stadium on September 6, 2012 in Seoul, South Korea. (Photo by Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images)
SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA - SEPTEMBER 07: Cavan Biggio of United States tags out Shohei Otani of Japan as he slides into first base in the fifth inning during the U18 Baseball World Championship match between Japan and the United States at Mokdong stadium on September 7, 2012 in Seoul, South Korea. (Photo by Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images)
Japan's pitcher Shohei Otani, who both pitches and hits for the Nippon Ham Fighters, attends a practice session before an exhibition baseball game against U.S. Major League Baseball (MLB) All-Stars in Tokyo November 14, 2014. Otani has made waves in Japan by throwing strikes and smashing home runs for the Nippon Ham Fighters, but the 'Double Sworded Samurai' may have to give up one of his weapons if he is to realise his dream of making it big in Major League Baseball. Picture taken November 14, 2014. To match story BASEBALL-JAPAN/OTANI REUTERS/Toru Hanai (JAPAN - Tags: SPORT BASEBALL HEADSHOT)
Japan's pitcher Shohei Otani, who both pitches and hits for the Nippon Ham Fighters, attends a practice session before an exhibition baseball game against U.S. Major League Baseball (MLB) All-Stars in Tokyo November 14, 2014. Otani has made waves in Japan by throwing strikes and smashing home runs for the Nippon Ham Fighters, but the 'Double Sworded Samurai' may have to give up one of his weapons if he is to realise his dream of making it big in Major League Baseball. Picture taken November 14, 2014. To match story BASEBALL-JAPAN/OTANI REUTERS/Toru Hanai (JAPAN - Tags: SPORT BASEBALL)
SAPPORO, JAPAN - NOVEMBER 18: Starting pitcher Shohei Otani #16 of Samurai Japan pitches in the first inning during the game five of Samurai Japan and MLB All Stars at Sapporo Dome on November 18, 2014 in Sapporo, Hokkaido, Japan. (Photo by Atsushi Tomura/Getty Images)
TOKYO, JAPAN - MARCH 21: (L-R) Former New York Yankee players Derek Jeter, Hideki Matsui, and Shohei Otani of Nippnham pose for photographers during the Tomodachi Charity Baseball Game on March 21, 2015 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Koji Watanabe/Getty Images)
SAPPORO, JAPAN - NOVEMBER 08: Shohei Otani #16 of Japan is interviewed after his team's 5-0 win in the WBSC Premier 12 match between Japan and South Korea at the Sapporo Dome on November 8, 2015 in Sapporo, Japan. (Photo by Atsushi Tomura/Getty Images)
TOKYO, JAPAN - NOVEMBER 19: Starting pitcher Shohei Otani (R) #16 of Japan high fives with infielder Nobuhiro Matsuda (L) #3 after the top of sixth inning during the WBSC Premier 12 semi final match between South Korea and Japan at the Tokyo Dome on November 19, 2015 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Masterpress/Getty Images)
Japan's pitcher Shohei Otani hurls against South Korean batter during the semi final of the Premier 12 baseball tournament in Tokyo. South Korea defeated Japan 4-3. AFP PHOTO / JIJI PRES JAPAN OUT (Photo credit should read JIJI PRESS/AFP/Getty Images)
TOKYO, JAPAN - NOVEMBER 10: Shohei Otani of Japan bats during the international friendly match between Japan and Mexico at the Tokyo Dome on November 10, 2016 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Sports Nippon/Getty Images)
TOKYO, JAPAN - NOVEMBER 12: Shohei Otani of Japan bats during the international friendly match between Japan and Netherlands at the Tokyo Dome on November 12, 2016 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Sports Nippon/Getty Images)
Japanese baseball player Shohei Otani delivers his speech during a press conference at the Japan National Press Club in Tokyo on November 11, 2017. Baseball superstar Otani voiced in the press conference his wish to continue playing both on the mound and at the plate in the US, saying he has not given up either pitching or batting. / AFP PHOTO / JIJI PRESS / STR / Japan OUT (Photo credit should read STR/AFP/Getty Images)
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Athletes like Ohtani who both pitch and hit are known as two-way players. The only person in the MLB to ever see this kind of success as a two-way player was none other than the Bambino himself, Babe Ruth, almost 100 years ago.

In fact, as pointed out by Sports on Earth, we've only seen nine seasons since 1900 in which a player has put up solid numbers while shouldering that kind of load.

That's at least 10 games pitched and 10 games in the lineup in a non-pitching role, with significant contributions at each.

Of those seasons, two were Ruth's, and none were within the past 50 years.

Ohtani clearly has talent as a pitcher and hitter. But questions still remain, including whether an MLB team will let him do both. 

SEE MORE: Major League Baseball's MVP Race This Year Is Of Epic Proportions

"This is an issue pitching coaches are talking about," said Sweeny Murti, Yankees beat reporter for SNY. "And I can see it being a novelty in the beginning, but in the end, you have to pick one or the other."

That being said, Ohtani has made it clear he wants to stay a two-way player, and some commentators think he could usher in a new era in the MLB. The Tampa Bay Rays used last year's top pick to draft Brendan McKay, a two-way player in the minor league. It's a role both club and player are interested in carrying through to the majors.

No matter how he's used, whichever team gets Ohtani will have to pay up. They'll owe his old team $20 million — and that's just the release fee. Ohtani's salary will be about half a million dollars, and depending on the team he picks, he could also pocket a signing bonus worth up to about $3.5 million. 

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The top 30 free agents in the MLB
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The top 30 free agents in the MLB
J.D. Martinez, RF

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Shohei Otani, RHP/OF

(Photo by Masterpress/Getty Images)

Alex Avila, C

(Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

Tyler Chatwood, RHP

(Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

CC Sabathia, LHP

(Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Yu Darvish, RHP

(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

Carlos Gonzalez, RF

(Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)

Eduardo Nunez, IF

(Photo by Michael Ivins/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Greg Holland, RHP

(Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)

Brandon Kintzler, RHP

(Photo by Tony Quinn/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Andrew Cashner, RHP

(Photo by Richard W. Rodriguez/Getty Images)

Lance Lynn, RHP

(Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)

Jay Bruce, RF

(Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)

Neil Walker, 2B

(Photo by John Konstantaras/Getty Images)

Carlos Gomez, CF

(Photo by Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Tony Watson, LHP

(Photo by LG Patterson/MLB Photos via Getty Images)

Jonathan Lucroy, C

(Photo by Kevin Abele/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Pat Neshek, RHP

(Photo by John Leyba/The Denver Post via Getty Images)

Jake Arrieta, RHP

(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Addison Reed, RHP

(Photo by Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Carlos Santana, 1B

(Photo by Alex Trautwig/MLB Photos via Getty Images)

Mike Moustakas, 3B

(Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)

Logan Morrison, 3B

(Photo by Joseph Garnett Jr./Getty Images)

Lorenzo Cain, CF

(Photo by Gerry Angus/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Jake McGee, LHP

(Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

Zack Cozart, SS

(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

Wade Davis, RHP

(Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

Alex Cobb, RHP

(Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)

Eric Hosmer, 1B

(Photo by Adam Hunger/Getty Images)

Todd Frazier, 3B

(Photo by Rob Tringali/MLB Photos via Getty Images)

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