Japanese star Shohei Ohtani has agreed tosign with theLosAngeles Angels, his agent said on Friday.
In addition to the Angels, Ohtani had metwith theChicagoCubs,TexasRangers,LosAngeles Dodgers,SanFrancisco Giants,San DiegoPadresandSeattleMariners.
“Shohei is humbled and flatteredby all the time and effort that so many teams put into their presentations andsincerely thanks them for their professionalism,” his agent, Nez Balelo,said in a statement. “In the end, he felt a strong connection with theAngels and believes they can best help him reach his goals in Major LeagueBaseball.”
Law: WithOhtani in the fold, what will the 2018 Angels look like?
L.A. just got a difference-maker at afraction of the price. The Angels still have holes to fill, but now they haveeven more incentive to fill them.
Ohtanidoesn’t make Angels a favorite, but he could make them a contender
Being a two-way player will be achallenge for Shohei Ohtani, but he immediately makes the Angels better and awhole lot more fun to watch.
Thechallenge for the Angels: What comes next with Shohei Ohtani
After weeks of wooing, persuadingShohei Ohtani to sign might be the easy part. Now the Angels need to figure outhow to sustain his success as a two-way star.
Ohtani was put up for bid last week bythe Pacific League’s Nippon-Ham Fighters for the maximum $20 million postingfee. The 23-year-old had until 11:59 p.m. ET on Dec. 22 to agree to a contractwith an MLB team.
Ohtani was 42-15 with a 2.52 ERA and a1.08 WHIP in five seasons as a pitcher with Nippon-Ham. He had a .286/.358/.500line with 48 homers and 166 RBIs in 403 games during that span.
“We are honored Shohei Ohtani hasdecided to join the Angels Organization,” the team said in a statement.”We felt a unique connectivity with him throughout the process and areexcited he will become an Angel.”
On Wednesday, the Angels traded minorleague outfielder Jacob Pearson to theMinnesotaTwinsfor $1 million in international bonuspool money. That gave the Angels a total of $2,315,000 to spend on their Ohtanioffer.
Teams interested in signing Ohtaniwere limited to the amount they had available in their international bonuspools. The Rangers had the biggest available allotment at $3.535 million. TheMariners also made a trade with the Twins on Wednesday to increase their offerto $2,557,500.
Ohtani would have likely signed a dealin excess of nine figures if he had waited until his 25th birthday, when hecould have become an unencumbered free agent. But he has consistently expresseda desire to test himself against top competition regardless of the financialramifications.
Angels star Mike Trout reacted to thenews with a post on his Twitter account on Friday.
— Mike Trout (@MikeTrout)December8, 2017
Ohtani choosing the Angels had rippleeffects in Las Vegas. The Angels went from 50-1 to 30-1 to win the World Seriesat the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook.