Many people have long been confused about Shohei Ohtani’s decision to move to Major League Baseball. While the Japanese star is clearly talented enough to make it in the U.S., the timing of his move is costing him millions of dollars. Still only 23, Ohtani is subject to MLB’s new international spending restrictions; were he to wait two years, he would essentially be an unrestricted free agent.
Ohtani doesn’t seem too concerned with the money, though. In fact, Ohtani and his agent sent out a memo to MLB teams requesting a detailed report of how he would be assimilated into their franchise. The memo, detailed by the Associated Press, had a number of questions Ohtani wants teams to answer.
Specifically, he wants teams to...
- Evaluate Ohtani as both a pitcher and hitter
- Explain its player development, medical training, and player performance philosophies and facilities
- Describe its minor league and spring training facilities
- Detail resources for Ohtani’s cultural assimilation into the team’s city
- Demonstrate a vision for how Ohtani could integrate into the team’s organization
- Explain why the team is a desirable place to play
Oddly, the Detroit Tigers may have the toughest time with the first item on that list. They have made strides to catch up with the rest of baseball in both scouting and analytics over the past couple years, but seem like they would be resistant to developing Ohtani as a true two-way player. And while it may be difficult to sell a Japanese star on why Detroit is the place for him, most other teams are fighting a similar battle with the New York Yankees in the mix.
MLB teams are expected to ratify a modified version of the posting agreement with Nippon Professional Baseball this week. Teams will have 21 days to sign Ohtani, and the team that lands him will also pay the $20 million posting fee (separate from his contract).