Yankees: Shohei Ohtani and his league-wide memo

TOKYO, JAPAN - NOVEMBER 12: Shohei Ohtani
TOKYO, JAPAN - NOVEMBER 12: Shohei Ohtani /

With the Nippon Ham Fighters readying to post star left-handed pitcher/slugger Shohei Ohtani, the Yankees must answer seven all-important questions posed by Ohtani’s representation.

Dec 1, that appears to be the day the Shohei Ohtani sweepstakes will get underway. With six teams, including the Yankees having a real shot at signing the budding two-way star, it is believed Ohtani and his representation will wait until Christmas to make a final decision on where he will begin his MLB career.

But that hasn’t stopped Ohtani’s lead representative, Nez Balelo of CAA Sports from sending a seven-question memo to all 30 MLB teams, asking why they would be a good fit for the 23-year-old.

As first reported by Bill Shaikin of the LA Times, Baleo wants the interested clubs’ responses as soon as possible, but insisted financial compensation not be included.

  1. “An evaluation of Shohei’s talent as a pitcher and/or a hitter;
  2. “Player development, medical, training and player performance philosophies and capabilities;
  3. “Major League, Minor League, and Spring Training facilities;
  4. “Resources for Shohei’s cultural assimilation;
  5. “A detailed plan for integrating Shohei into the organization;
  6. “Why the city and franchise are a desirable place to play;
  7. “Relevant marketplace characteristics.”

With Ohtani leaving a king’s ransom on the table by coming to the U.S. two years before his 25th birthday (therefore incurring the rules of the new collective bargaining agreement), it’s understandable that he’s looking outside the parameters of traditional financial compensation.

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The Yankees, who recently dealt first baseman Garrett Cooper and left-handed pitcher Caleb Smith to the Marlins for a minor leaguer and $250,000 in bonus pool money, now find themselves with the second most available bonus funds in baseball behind the Rangers and their $3.53 million.

Other clubs with ample cash to spend include the Twins, Pirates, Marlins and Mariners. As for the Dodgers, you shouldn’t count them out of the race just yet, even though they can only offer a $300K bonus.

We already know Ohtani wants to use his potent bat when he isn’t pitching — which basically rules out the entire NL while holding the AL hostage when it comes to negotiations.

Keeping the issue of fatigue at the forefront, the Yanks could allow Ohtani the chance to DH two or three times per week, spaced around his starts.

The Mariners could do the same, though it would require the defensively inept Nelson Cruz to play the outfield.

There’s no way any sane manager puts Ohtani in right field. The risk for injury is simply too great.

Next: FanSided Winter Meetings: Yanks lose out on Ohtani

"According to MLB.com’s Jon Morosi, Ohtani said geographic location and the role he’ll serve will be key in picking his next team. But Ohtani didn’t say what’s important about the city he’s in. It could mean anything. Maybe he wants to be closer to Japan, putting Seattle high on his list. Or maybe he wants to be in a big market, tossing the Dodgers or the Yankees up there."