By now you have all heard the news - Ohtani snubbed the Yankees. Wherever he lands now, I might even consider that victory enough since so many fans and “experts” were insisting that is where he would end up. Guess what? Not everyone wants to play in the Bronx. Take a deep breath Yankees fans. It’s true. Sorry. But let’s move on.
Here are the final 7 teams that DID make the cut:
Notice a trend? Yep. Mostly West Coast teams aside from the A’s, because even Ohtani is not dumb enough to play at that stadium and Billy Beane would probably flip him for some prospects by mid season anyway and he’d probably end up in Atlanta.
So let’s take a look at each team and why he should or shouldn’t sign there.
Okay sure, there is no current Japanese star there (aside from Koji Uehara who pitched there last season) and the DID recently win a World Series. BUT the Cubs have a long history of suckage and no one would be surprised if their next World Series win was in 2106. Ohtani is young, but not that young. Also - It’s cold there. Oh so cold. No one (including Ohtani) really wants to play baseball in April looking like this:
HAHAHAHA. Okay really? The Rangers are on Ohtani’s final list? The only answer is maybe the bonus money DOES matter, since the Rangers have the most of any team currently in the running. I’m pretty sure Ohtani respects the game too much to play with that punk ass instigated Rougned Odor. If that isn’t reason enough, the Rangers are probably on a more of a downward slide in the AL West with Adrian Beltre’s days numbers (isn’t he like 47?). The Rangers just aren’t that good AND the recently had Yu Darvish on the team and decided they didn’t want to keep him. Don’t let that be your fate Ohtani.
I’m pretty surprised this team is even on his list. If choking in October appeals to Ohtani, this is the team to go with. Also if he likes spending 7 hours in traffic every day he has to go to the Ravine, that may be another selling point. Kenta Maeda is also already on this team and the Dodgers don’t have room for TWO Japanese pitchers.
The Giants are intriguing. Sure. I mean, they DID have that even year thing going for a bit but last year they were the WORST team in baseball. Fluke? Probably not. The Giants don’t really have an outfield, their pitching is terrible, farm depth is lacking, and they still have a huge budget. They are not a team who really believes in rebuilding so it may be a painful few years (or decades).
Everyone thinks they are the front runner, but who wants to go play in all that rain? Who wants to go to a team with a strong Ichiro legacy? When you think Japanese player in MLB you think Ichiro. And when you think Ichiro - you think Mariners. I wouldn’t want to play in the shadow of those 3,080 hits. Plus, Jerry Dipoto? He’s probed to be terrible at putting together winning teams. If you want to be mediocre, you go play in Seattle who also has an aging core (Cruz, Cano, and Hernandez).
San Diego is where you go if you want good beer, a nice stadium, and want to be known as a lovable loser. I’ll admit it’s hard for me to bag on a team that’s in my current city, but if Ohtani goes to the Padres he’s in for many, many, head hanging nights over the next few years AT LEAST. Like Beane in Oakland, the AJ Prellar has also never met a player he wouldn’t trade so be careful Ohtani, because as soon as you prove yourself here, you’ll be flipped for two rookie ball stars since the best thing the Padres have going for them is their farm system.
I think it’s easier if I just provide a list here.
- Mike Trout. Who doesn’t want to play with the best in baseball?
- Albert Pujols. Sure he’s getting older but this is a first ballot future HOFer here. The coaching and advice from him alone will be indispensable.
- Running! Ohtani is fast and Soth loves the running game. Pinch runner? Call in Ohtani. He could steal 20 bases for the team next year.
- Southern California. Not the only SoCal team in the running, but you have access to all the flights out of LAX without living in that traffic. You can vacation or live (like Charles Nagy does) in San Diego because it’s so close.
- Small market? Kind of. The Angels play in the LA market but live like a small market team when it comes to media, etc.
- Japanese community. Orange County has a huge Japanese community and 5,000+ Japanese live in Irvine. There are another 37,000 in Los Angeles and 14,000 in Torrance. The resources are probably the best outside of Japan (not counting Hawaii).
- Defense. You want to pitch on a team with a good defense behind you? The Angels have 4 gold glove finalists and won two last year. The Angels have 4 current or past gold glove winners in the field (Pujols, Simmons, Calhoun, Maldonado)
- Playoff bound. The Angels don’t rebuild either, but unlike the Giants they have a good core to get them to the World Series. Want that ring in your first season or two? Come play with the Angels Ohtani!
- Add your own! What other reasons make the Angels the best team for Ohtani??