The Los Angeles Angels have won in landing Japanese two-way star Shohei Ohtani. He has agreed to a deal with the Angels, the 23-year-old’s agent announced.
In a statement from Nez Balelo, co-head of CAA Baseball, “This morning, after a thorough, detailed process, Shohei Ohtani has decided to sign with the Los Angeles Angels. 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. 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.
I want to thank the clubs and everyone else for respecting our intent to make this very important process as private as possible. We were resolved to having a fair, methodical process. Teams clearly put in a lot of work, and we are grateful for that. The past few weeks also further demonstrated Shohei’s incredible thoughtfulness, attention to detail and determination to make an informed decision.
He read every page of every presentation and listened to every word in each meeting, and he was so impressed that it was not an easy choice. While there has been much speculation about what would drive Shohei’s decision, what mattered to him most wasn’t market size, time zone or league but that he felt a true bond with the Angels.
He sees this as the best environment to develop and reach the next level and attain his career goals. More than ever, I believe this is not only a special talent but a man of special character, and like everyone else I’m excited to see him in Major League Baseball.”
Ohtani met with seven teams after being posted by Nippon Professional Baseball last week. The Seattle Mariners and the Angels were the active teams in making moves to get additional international signing slot money in making trades with other clubs.
In five seasons with Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters, Ohtani as a pitcher was 42-15 with three years in a row posting double-digit wins from 2014-2016. In 2015, Ohtani had a career-high with 15 wins, and in 2016, he had a career-low ERA of 1.86.
From the offensive side, Ohtani had 48 home runs and 166 RBI and a career batting average of .286 with consecutive seasons in 2016 and 17 batting .322 and .332 respectively. His biggest season at the plate was in 2016 with 22 home runs and 67 RBI.
This is a move that checks all the boxes for the Angels. Offensively, pitching, financially and of course the popularity with the fans.
The Angels get Ohtani to play alongside Mike Trout, one of the best players in the game as well as Andrelton Simmons, Kole Calhoun, C.J. Cron and of course Albert Pujols. 2018 could be very exciting for the fans and for Ohtani, as it allows him to contribute with less pressure on the Angels. They’re not in a big market and are the second team in the Los Angeles market.