Japanese star Ohtani to sign with Angels
Angels have $2.315 million to offer 23-year-old
Japanese baseball star Shohei Ohtani will sign with the Los Angeles Angels, his agent said Friday.
"Shohei is humbled and flattered by all the time and effort that so many teams put into their presentations and sincerely thanks them for their professionalism," his agent, Nez Balelo, said in a statement. "In the end, he felt a strong connection with the Angels and believes they can best help him reach his goals in Major League Baseball."
Ohtani, 23, had also met with the Chicago Cubs, Texas Rangers, Los Angeles Dodgers, San Francisco Giants, San Diego Padres and Seattle Mariners.
The Japan Pacific League's Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters posted Ohtani for the maximum posting fee of $20 million last week. He had until the end of the day on Dec. 22 to agree to a MLB contract.
A two-way star known both for his pitching and his bat, Ohtani hit .332 with eight home runs and 31 RBIs in 65 games last season while battling various injuries. During the 2016 season, he hit .322 with 22 homers and 67 RBIs and also posted a 10-4 record with a 1.86 ERA while pitching in 21 games.
In 403 games over four seasons with the Fighters, he batted .286 with 48 homers, 166 RBIs and an .859 OPS. His pitching stats over that time include a 42-15 record with a 2.52 ERA over 85 games.
The Angels have a total of $2.315 million in international bonus pool money to spend on their contract offer to Ohtani after trading minor league outfielder Jacob Pearson to the Minnesota Twins on Wednesday for an extra $1 million worth of bonus pool money.
The Rangers had the most in their international bonus pool at $3.535 million. Teams were limited to that bonus pool money for signing Ohtani, although he could have signed a deal in excess of nine figures if he had waited to come over to the MLB after his 25th birthday.