Some MLB front offices involved in the sweepstakes to sign Japanese superstar Shohei Ohtani are reportedly “suspicious” a decision was made before the recruitment process was completed.
On Wednesday, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic used the term “eyewash,” a baseball phrase for a lack of sincere effort, to describe how certain teams view the Ohtani free-agent derby.
Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reported earlier Wednesday the dual-threat sensation, a starting pitcher and outfielder, finished meeting with the seven finalists. Those teams included the Texas Rangers, Seattle Mariners, Los Angeles Angels, Chicago Cubs, Los Angeles Dodgers, San Francisco Giants and San Diego Padres.
The Rangers ($3.535 million), Mariners ($2.557 million) and Angels ($2.315 million) have the most international slot money available from that group, per Manny Randhawa of MLB.com.
Ohtani has until Dec. 22 to make a decision. It’s unclear whether he plans to announce his choice before that now that the teams’ sales pitches have been made.
Last month, the 23-year-old three-time All-Star selection in Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball said he was interested in hearing how teams planned to use him.
“Just before I turned professional, I didn’t imagine I would be able to do both,” Ohtani told reporters. “But since then, the fans have encouraged it.”
He added: “I don’t know if it will be possible, but I want to hear what teams over there say and what kind of situations might be available. Until that process has started, I can’t say how it might work out.”
Ohtani posted a .286/.358/.500 triple-slash line with 48 home runs in 403 games for the NPB’s Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters over the past five years. On the mound, he compiled a 2.52 ERA with 624 strikeouts in 543 innings across 85 appearances (82 starts).