With Shohei Ohtani expected to become available to major league teams next week, his agent has asked interested teams to submit presentations that explain how the so-called “Babe Ruth of Japan” would “fit into the organization in both the short term and the long term.”
With bonus restrictions enabling every major league team to afford Ohtani, the presentations are expected to help Ohtani, his agent and his family narrow the field to what the letter called “a subset of clubs on which to focus.”
The letter, sent to all 30 clubs Friday and obtained by The Times, asks for clubs to address seven non-financial points in their presentations:
- “An evaluation of Shohei’s talent as a pitcher and/or a hitter;
- “Player development, medical, training and player performance philosophies and capabilities;
- “Major League, Minor League, and Spring Training facilities;
- “Resources for Shohei’s cultural assimilation;
- “A detailed plan for integrating Shohei into the organization;
- “Why the city and franchise are a desirable place to play;
- “Relevant marketplace characteristics.”
The Dodgers are expected to be among the most ardent pursuers of Ohtani, 23, who might command some $200 million if he were truly a free agent. However, under MLB rules governing international signings, teams cannot exceed their designated bonus pools to sign him.
The Texas Rangers have the most money in their pool: $3.55 million, according to the Associated Press. The Dodgers have $300,000.
The winning team also would owe $20 million to Ohtani’s Japanese club, the Nippon Ham Fighters.