Earlier this week, Japanese star Shohei Ohtani inched closer to signing with a Major League club when he revealed the seven finalists for his services. Among the clubs still in the running include the Chicago Cubs, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, Los Angeles Dodgers, San Diego Padres, San Francisco Giants, Seattle Mariners and Texas Rangers.
Ohtani reportedly prefers to sign with a West Coast club. That was evident when he informed two powerhouse East Coast teams in the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees that he wouldn’t sign with them.
On Monday, the Dodgers met with Ohtani and his representatives to pitch the phenom on why Los Angeles would suit him best.
Dodgers southpaw Hyun-Jin Ryu believes Ohtani will be successful in the Majors and hopes to become teammates with him, per Joseph Kim on Twitter:
— Joseph Kim (@blackwings2011) December 6, 2017
The Dodgers would be an excellent fit for Ohtani on many fronts. For one, the club can use its pitching depth to strategically portion his starts throughout the season. That would bode well for the phenom, as he’s accustomed to Japan’s traditional six-man rotations and longer rest in between starts.
On certain days where he doesn’t take the mound, the Dodgers can afford Ohtani the opportunity to hit, whether it comes in the form of starting in the outfield or appearance off the bench.
As it stands, Los Angeles can only offer Ohtani $300,000 while other clubs with more funds, such as the Rangers, can present him more than $3 million, and both the Mariners and Angels now have more than $2 million to offer him after trades with the Minnesota Twins. But given that Ohtani wanted to make the jump to the Majors this season, the financial factor isn’t as important in this case.
Ohtani has until Dec. 22 at 8:59 pm PT to sign with a team, so a resolution on where he will be playing next year can be reached at any moment. Some speculate that a signing could be announced as early as next week during the Winter Meetings, and the Mariners and Padres are widely viewed as the current favorites.