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Shizuo Kambayashi / Associated Press
Shohei Ohtani has reduced his list to a sort of seven. From that list will come an even more fortunate No. 1.
The Japanese phenomenon with the title of "As / Slugger" which was an increase in eyebrows was published by Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters last week. He has until December 22 to choose his new home in Major League Baseball, but he did not even wait until the winter meetings, which begin on December 10, to say "thank you but no thanks" to most of the franchises.
According to Jim Bowden of SiriusXM, only the Los Angeles Dodgers, the San Francisco Giants, the Chicago Cubs, the San Diego Padres, the Seattle Mariners, the Los Angeles Angels and The Texas Rangers are still competing for the 23-year-old.
The objective here is to classify them from the worst bet to sign Ohtani with the best bet to sign him. To ensure that this process is not as well presumptuous, let's begin with a look at the factors that man himself weighs.
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- "An evaluation of the talent of Shohei as a pitcher and / or batter;
- "Player development, doctors, training and philosophies and player performance capabilities;
- "Major League, Minor League and Spring" Training facilities;
- "Resources for cultural assimilation of Shohei;
- " A detailed plan to integrate Shohei into the organization;
- "Why the city and the franchise are a desirable place to play;
- " Relevant market features "
KAZUHIRO NOGI / Getty Images
Most free agent draws are limited to any team that offers the most money.
It's not this.
The seven finalists of Ohtani know that they will have to pay Nippon Ham a publication fee of $ 20 million to sign him, but Ohtani himself is subject to international rules that restrict him, at best, to a bonus seven digits
Bill Shaikin of Los Angeles Times reported that Ohtani's main concern is knowing exactly why he and his suitors are good for each other That implies:
Of course, he may have unlisted preferences as well.
By MLB. com Bryan Hoch, general manager of the New York Yankees Brian Cashman had the impression that Ohtani prefers the West Coast and does not want to play in a big market. Jon Morosi of MLB Network reported that several Major League executives believe that Ohtani also prefers not to play on a team that already has a Japanese star.
With all this in mind, let's discuss your options.
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Julie Jacobson / Associated Press
] If Ohtani's top priorities are playing for a top-tier MLB franchise with the means to turn him into a super-duper-star, he could do worse than the Cubs.
This is a historic franchise that broke through to the long-awaited World Series championship last year. Wrigley Field is old, but recently it was equipped with all kinds of player-friendly amenities. At Sloan Park, the Cubs also have the newest spring training complex in the Cactus League.
If he signed with the Cubs, Ohtani would be the only Japanese star, but far from being the only young star. Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo and Willson Contreras lead one of the best youth centers of the MLB. At the controls is Joe Maddon, one of the most progressive managers in baseball.
By Eno Sarris of FanGraphs, the Cubs also have a good track record in keeping players healthy. That is not a small consideration in light of the workload that Ohtani seeks.
However, the most important thing against the Cubs is their location.
They are the easternmost team of the Ohtani finalists and are located in one of the largest MLB markets. The bright side of that is the potential endorsements that could offset the small $ 300,000 bonus that the Cubs can pay. The less bright side is the pressure that comes with the territory.
What also does not help is that Chicago has a crowded roster that could make at-bats hard to come by. And as a winning team, the Cubs can not afford to be too patient with their development.
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G Fiume / Getty Images
Yes, an Ohtani team, possibly the best baseball talent in the world, and Mike Trout, arguably the best baseball player in the world, could happen .
If that's not what keeps the Angels in Ohtani's mix, maybe it's their location.
Angels can see themselves as part of Los Angeles, but Anaheim is south of Los Angeles. There is a double benefit to that: it is close enough to attract sponsorship opportunities in addition to the $ 2.315 million bonus that the Angels can afford, but far enough to allow a discreet life.
It is also a good place for Ohtani to assimilate culturally considering that Los Angeles has a large Japanese population in its own right.
But while Ohtani could be comfortable in the market, the team itself is another matter.
With Albert Pujols in the designated hitter and Justin Upton and Kole Calhoun in cornerback spaces, Angels captain Mike Scioscia has no obvious avenues to channel at-bats to Ohtani. Without immediate results, attempts to shake things up in his name could cause grudges among the headlines.
In addition, the Angels do not have the best facilities: the Anaheim Angel Stadium is 51 years old and the Tempe Diablo stadium, its spring training site, is 48 years old, nor the brightest future. Your farm system is completely dry. If Trout leaves as a free agent after 2020, dark times will fall into the franchise.
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Victor Decolongon / Getty Images
Why should the Dodgers beat the Angels despite being the biggest pressure cooker of the two? The clubs of Los Angeles?
How about the team itself?
After a season of 104 victories and a trip to the World Series, the Dodgers are emerging as the main contender in the National League. They have the resources and the prospects to continue like this for years to come.
With Hideo Nomo, Kazuhisa Ishii, Takashi Saito, Hiroki Kuroda and Yu Darvish in their story and Kenta Maeda on their roster right now, the Dodgers do not need to prove they can handle a Japanese star. And your list is a good choice for Ohtani. Its depth allows manager Dave Roberts to ask everyone for something without asking too much of anyone.
Like Wrigley Field, Dodger Stadium is old and has several floors, but it has also been recently renovated. The surrounding area is the ideal place for Ohtani to find additional winnings in addition to the measly $ 300,000 that the Dodgers can afford.
Still, you can not ignore the high expectations of the Dodgers market and its superpower. . These expectations could only be complicated if the development of Ohtani came to any inconvenience.
In addition, the presence of Maeda and the history of Japanese stars of the Dodgers could be a curse rather than a blessing.
"I feel like he just wants to come and not compare with other guys who have already been here, to start alone, show what he can do for himself," said Brandon Laird, former teammate of Nippon Ham, a MLB Network Radio, via Morosi.
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LM Otero / Associated Press
They are not as far east as the Cubs, but the Rangers are certainly not a West Coast team. That only puts them at a disadvantage in these draws.
However, it could be worth something that the Rangers are not oblivious to Ohtani. They are one of the clubs that courted him in high school in 2012, a process that according to Morosi left Ohtani with a "favorable opinion" from the team officials.
The initial procession of Ohtani in Texas occurred during the year that Yu Darvish was welcomed into the fold. It is known that Ohtani idolizes Darvish, so surely he is not blind to how well his idol ended up fitting in with Texas. If there is a Japanese star that is following comfortably, Darvish may be the type.
Meanwhile, the Rangers have room for Ohtani in his starter rotation and ways to put him at bat in his lineup. Its DH and open field corner graphs appear to be negotiable.
If Ohtani is more interested in the money than he is allowing, it is also an advantage for the Rangers who can offer the biggest bonus at $ 3.535 million. And although Arlington is a small market, Dallas is a very large market that could attract sponsorship opportunities.
However, it is possible that Ohtani does not consider any of this worth giving up on the West Coast. He could also be scared by Texas's injury history, which Sarris found one of the worst in baseball.
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Elaine Thompson / Associated Press
If culture is the most important thing for Ohtani, it's hard to imagine a better fit than the Mariners.
Percentage, Seattle has the highest percentage of Japanese-Americans in the cities that remain on Ohtani's radar. The Japanese ties of the Mariners range from being owned by Nintendo to employing a list of Japanese stars headed by the biggest of all: Ichiro Suzuki.
"We want to sell the Seattle experience and what it means to Japanese-Americans, our culture and how this organization has had such a positive trend when we have the Japanese star player," said Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto, by Greg Johns of MLB.com.
The Mariners could also sell Ohtani on the idea of being a saving franchise. They have not made the postseason since Ichiro led a season of 116 victories in 2001. They have not yet reached the World Series.
Money is another advantage. The Mariners can offer a bonus of $ 2,557 million. And although Seattle is not a large media market, it is a good-sized market that did not stop Ichiro from obtaining millions of endorsements.
Of course, this is to assume that Ohtani wants to follow in the footsteps of Ichiro and the other Japanese stars that the Mariners had. Possibly not.
You may also not be enthusiastic about joining a team that is based on an aging core and owns one of MLB's weakest agricultural systems. And although Sarris' data shows that Mariners do not attract many injuries in general, what they do tend to be important.
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Orlando Ramirez / Associated Press
The Padres are emerging as an elusive favorite for Ohtani. The "why" for this covers a real list of interesting ties of ties and delicacies.
Jon Heyman placed them on FanRag Sports, beginning with how GM A.J. of San Diego. Preller has secretly coveted Ohtani for a while. He is in charge of an office that employs two executives who looked for Ohtani for the Dodgers years ago. Nomo and Saito, two Japanese legends, also work in the main office.
San Diego is a great place for Ohtani to park. It may not attract support based on the $ 300,000 bonus that parents can give. However, he will not find a more discreet market.
After a season of 91 losses, the Padres are not a good team now. But at least they do not have Japanese stars. They have also used Christian Bethancourt as a two-way guinea pig, and they must have all the time and patience in the world to perfect the experiment with Ohtani.
Meanwhile, a farm system that is already classified as Bleacher Report fourth best will continue to grow. In a short time, Ohtani could be part of a group that gives the Padres their first World Series title.
However, there is a possibility that Ohtani does not want to wait for victories. And in light of his terrible, horrible, not good, very bad injury record, signing up to expect victories in San Diego would put his health at risk.
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Jeff Chiu / Associated Press
It may not be a good idea to read how, according to Alex Pavlovic of the NBC Sports Bay Area, the Giants were the first finalists to meet with Ohtani.
Alternatively: maybe it is?
The Giants are a team with a history that includes three World Series titles since 2010 and, most notably, does not include any big Japanese stars.
If Ohtani wants to win, he would have to trust that 98 losses suffered by the Giants in 2017 are an aberration. Even if that's a stretch, there are other things that could convince him to get on board anyway.
According to Sarris data, the Giants are one of the best teams in the MLB to protect players from serious injuries. After hitting a home run of 128 short runs in 2017, they have the greatest need for Ohtani's power. And while AT & T Park does not serve energy, it's a beautiful stadium that serves pitchers like no other.
Under manager Bruce Bochy, the San Francisco clubhouse is known for its chemistry that makes it a pleasant environment for young players. Bochy has also shown with Madison Bumgarner that he does not mind using pitchers that can rake. Helping Ohtani on that path would be to hit coach Hensley Meulens, who once played in Japan and still speaks Japanese.
The disadvantage of living in San Francisco would be the tremendous cost of living. But it's certainly a market big enough to attract sponsorships to increase the $ 300,000 bonus the Giants can give you. It could also be the most discreet large market that MLB has to offer.
In total, what is not good?
Statistics courtesy of Baseball Reference.