Angels win Ohtani sweepstakes for Japanese two-way star
Japanese two-way star Shohei Ohtani has agreed to sign with the Los Angeles Angels, his agent said Friday.
The Angels won Ohtani's services over competition from the Chicago Cubs, Texas Rangers, Los Angeles Dodgers, San Diego Padres, San Francisco Giants and Seattle Mariners.
"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," agent Nez Balelo said in a statement. "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."
Ohtani was put up for bid by the Pacific League's Hippon Ham Fighters for the maximum $20 million posting fee. He had until Dec. 22 to agree to a major league deal.
The Angels had $2.315 million of international bonus pool money to spend toward Ohtani's offer.
"We are honored Shohei Ohtani has decided to join the Angels Organization," the team said in a statememt. "We felt a unique connectivity with him throughout the process and are excited he will become an Angel. This is a special time for Angels fans, the Ohtani family, and Nez Balelo and the team at Creative Artists Agency."
Ohtani, who throws right-handed and bats left-handed, plans to be both a pitcher and an outfielder with the Angels. He went 42-15 with a 2.52 ERA in five seasons as a pitcher in Japan, and batted .286 with 48 homers and a .500 slugging percentage.
Balelo said Ohtani was deeply involved in the decision-making and broke down the pros and cons of each team's pitch.
"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," Balelo said. "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."