While the process was hardly smooth sailing, MLB and Nippon Professional Baseball eventually came to terms on a new posting agreement. Once it was ratified by MLB owners, it paved the way for Shohei Ohtani to make his jump stateside.
With Ohtani bound to the international bonus pool guidelines, it essentially put all clubs in position to contend for his services. As such, Ohtani sent a memo to each of the 30 teams, with a multitude of questions.
He used the information as a means to settle on seven finalists: Chicago Cubs, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, Los Angeles Dodgers, San Diego Padres, San Francisco Giants, Seattle Mariners and Texas Rangers.
It was believed Ohtani had a preference to play on the West Coast and for a team in a small market. The Mariners and Padres at one point were identified as the early favorites.
According to Dylan Hernandez of the L.A. Times, the 23-year-old has agreed to sign with the Angels:
Ohtani signs with the #Angels.
— Dylan Hernandez (@dylanohernandez) December 8, 2017
In addition to the Angels paying Ohtani a signing bonus, they also owe $20 million to the Nippon-Ham Fighters as a posting fee. While it was a set amount, moving forward the sum of a posting fee a Japanese team receives will be based on the value of a contract the player signs.
In the time leading up to Ohtani’s decision, the Angels and Mariners each completed trades to acquire international bonus pool money. The Mariners received $1 million from each the Minnesota Twins and Miami Marlins in separate trades.
In his five years with the Fighters, Ohtani batted .286/.358/.500 with 70 doubles, four triples, 48 home runs and 166 RBI over 403 games. He went 42-15 with a 2.52 ERA and 1.08 WHIP in 85 games (82 starts) on the mound.