Thursday, 18 January, 2018

Shohei Ohtani signs with AL team

Shohei Ohtani Shohei Ohtani , The Canadian Press
Hilda Schwartz | 09 December, 2017, 04:37

Ohtani picks the Angels after a whirlwind week where he narrows his choice down to seven clubs, and Los Angeles ends up with the winning ticket.

Only the Texas Rangers can offer the 23-year-old two-way phenom more money with $3.535 million available in their global bonus pool.

TIGERS: Detroit agreed to a major league deal with right-hander Mike Fiers.

The Angels will have Ohtani for six-years on a very low-priced contract. The 23-year-old Ohtani, a double threat as a pitcher and slugger, had met with a slew of other teams including the Dodgers, Chicago Cubs, Texas Rangers, San Francisco Giants, Seattle Mariners and San Diego Padres, according to ESPN.

With a reasonably solid outfield, it is uncertain that Ohtani will play either left or centerfield much in his first Major League Baseball season.

Whatever you call him, Japanese wunderkind Shohei Ohtani will be wearing the red and white jersey of the Los Angeles Angels. "He sees this as the best environment to develop and reach the next level and attain his career goals".

The cost to get Ohtani was minimal, with the Angels limited to paying him a $2.315 million bonus by worldwide signing restrictions.

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Ohtani was put up for bid by the Pacific League's Hippon Ham Fighters for the maximum $20 million posting fee.

The move gives the Mariners $2.55 million available to give the highly coveted Ohtani, while the Angels now have $2.315 million. So did Angels general manager Billy Eppler, who was an executive for the Yankees at the time.

At the plate, Ohtani batted.322 in both 2017 and 2016, while also providing his team solid slugging in the mid.500s both seasons. But the Angels' newest global star remains a viable option as both as a designated hitter as well as an important new part of the Angels' pitching rotation.

With the decision out of the way, Ohtani can now return his focus to preparing to play in the major leagues.

Ohtani will serve a dual role with the Angels, not only pitching but hitting on a regular basis.

Ohtani was 3-2 with a 3.20 ERA this year while slowed by thigh and ankle injuries, but those numbers don't indicate the incredible potential seen in a pitcher whose fastball has been clocked above 100 miles per hour. Los Angeles also has thought about trying a six-man starting rotation, which would allow Ohtani to have ample arm rest after pitching roughly once a week in Japan.

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