The most sought after player of this winter is off the market. Japanese multi-position star Shohei Ohtani will sign with the Los Angeles Angels, his final choice after narrowing it down to 7 teams this past week.
Ohtani left the whole major league list of teams disappointed, but mostly the Cubs, Dodgers, Giants, Rangers, Mariners and Padres, who met with Ohtani and his reps this week, trying to convince the 23-year old Japanese star to sign with them.
While the Angels didn’t have the most money to offer Ohtani in the form of an international signing bonus (the Rangers were in the lead in that category), it was never about signing money for Ohtani, as he’s projected to bring in $20 million a year from endorsements. Other things he valued over money according to reports were being closer to West Coast Japanese communities, the weather in the West coast and being closer to Japan. Ohtani could have signed a 9-figure deal had he waited until his 25th birthday to sign a major league deal.
Ohtani, being marketed as the player who can toss 100 mph fastballs and possesses a nasty left-handed swing, has a 2.52 ERA with a 1.08 WHIP over the last 5 seasons in Japan, along with a .286 batting average, .358 OBP and .500 slugging through 403 games. He hit 48 home runs in that duration, good enough for 166 RBIs.
Many assumed Ohtani would also prefer an AL team, giving him the chance to play DH during his off-pitching days.
The Angels have missed the playoffs in the last 3 seasons, finishing 80-82 in 2017. Their last playoff appearance was in 2014, and they haven’t won a playoff series since 2009, when they made the ALCS before losing to the eventual World Series champions, the New York Yankees.