Los Angeles Angels: Shohei Ohtani Lands in Anaheim
The Shohei Ohtani sweepstakes came to a close Friday afternoon. The two-way star out of Japan decided to take his talents to Anaheim and join the Los Angeles Angels. After narrowing it down to seven teams, Ohtani ultimately decided that the Angels best matched what he was looking for.
While they were one of seven finalists, few expected the Angels to emerge victoriously. Of course, it was ultimately up to Ohtani and the Angels could only do so much, but it still came as a shock nonetheless. Speculation about who the favorite was running rampant the past few days. The Mariners looked to be making the biggest push after acquiring more spending money from the Dee Gordon trade. The Rangers, Cubs, Padres, Dodgers, and Giants were in the running until the end as well.
The max bonus the Angels can offer is $2.315 million. That’s about $1 million less than what the Rangers and Mariners had but greater than everyone else. With the signing, the 23-year-old Ohtani becomes the Angels new No. 1 prospect. Additionally, because of Major League Baseball’s CBA, Ohtani becomes the top amateur prospect in all of baseball. That also means that his contract will technically be a minor league deal with a $545k minimum salary. Nonetheless, Ohtani is still expected to start the season in the Majors.
Ohtani will provide a huge boost to an Angels rotation that has struggled in recent years. He’ll likely be slotted at the top of a rotation, which featuring Garrett Richards and Matt Shoemaker. It includes a number of contenders for the remaining spots. Since Ohtani is used to pitching once a week, the Angels could decide to use a six-man rotation to help limit his innings. This could prove beneficial to guys like Richards and Shoemaker as well, who have dealt with their own injury woes.
The two-way star’s offensive role has yet to be determined. Whether they have him hit regularly or not, he should provide flexibility. If they use him as a DH, Albert Pujols may see more time at first than expected. It’ll be exciting to see how the Angels decide to use him on offense, especially with Mike Trout in the middle of the lineup.
It’s safe to say that with the signing of Ohtani, the Angels have secured the best players in both Major League Baseball and the Nippon Professional Baseball league. Ohtani and Trout will play huge roles in the team’s success over the next few seasons. The Angels have gotten flack about “wasting” Trout’s prime years. However, Ohtani might help them make a run for it all.