Cubs lose out to Angels in Shohei Ohtani sweepstakes


Ohtani was put up for bid on December 1 by the Pacific League's Nippon Ham Fighters for the maximum $20 million posting fee and met with the Mariners, Angels, Rangers, San Francisco Giants, Los Angeles Dodgers, San Diego Padres and Chicago Cubs in-person this week.

Ohtani has ample opportunity to fulfill his biggest ambitions with the Angels, who are in need of a top starting pitcher.

In Ohtani, 23, the Angels get a player unlike one ever seen in modern baseball.

Ohtani was 3-2 with a 3.20 ERA this year while slowed by thigh and ankle injuries, but those numbers don't indicate the incredible potential seen in a pitcher whose fastball has been clocked above 100 miles per hour.

With this decision, Ohtani ends months-long speculation about where he would end up in the major leagues.

The Angels won 80 games past year and fought for a wild-card spot, but fell short.

Winning Shohei Ohtani's services over the next two weeks would be one of the most unexpected victories in Angels history. But the Angels' newest worldwide star remains a viable option as both as a designated hitter as well as an important new part of the Angels' pitching rotation.

The cost to get Ohtani was minimal, with the Angels limited to paying him a $2.315 million bonus by worldwide signing restrictions.

Ohtani now joins the Angels on a minor league deal, just like any other foreign prospect. In Japan, starters pitch every seven days, as opposed to every five in the majors.

It has been suggested that going to a six-man rotation might be the best way for a major league team to fold Ohtani into its pitching staff.

Earlier this week, Eppler bolstered his much-improved farm system by signing 17-year-old Venezuelan shortstop Kevin Maitan, a prospect considered the best of 13 players recently taken away from the Atlanta Braves for violating worldwide signing rules.

At the plate, he is a.286 career hitter with 48 home runs, 150 runs and 166 RBIs in 1,170 plate appearances, mostly as a designated hitter. Ohtani already has drawn numerous comparisons to Babe Ruth, who excelled as a hitter and a pitcher early in his Hall of Fame career. It's been speculated he could play some outfield between starts, though the Halos have a full outfield with Justin Upton, Mike Trout, and Kole Calhoun.

If Pujols has truly improved his health and conditioning - as the Angels insist he has - he could play more games at first base, clearing the way for Ohtani to be the DH.