On Friday, international baseball sensation, Shohei Otani, finally decided which MLB team he will join for his start in the sport in America. After weeks of MLB rumors involving the Boston Red Sox, New York Yankees, and just about every other baseball team, Otani will now call Los Angeles his home in the United States but not as a member of the World Series runner-up team. Instead, the pitching and hitting superstar is officially signing with the Los Angeles Angels, his agent announced on Friday afternoon.
The reports of Otani’s signing arrived via various sources, including NESN‘s Ricky Doyle on Friday. The major news comes as Otani had recently turned down the New York Yankees after the team showed heavy interest in acquiring the Japanese star. Some analysts felt the Texas Rangers might have the inside track due to the money they could spend on him under international free agency signing terms. Over the past week or so, Otani and his representative were able to narrow the number of teams down to seven including the L.A. Angels. Other teams that were among potential suitors included the Chicago Cubs, Los Angeles Dodgers, San Francisco Giants, San Diego Padres, Seattle Mariners, and Texas Rangers.
The big announcement of his signing with the Angels was made via Otani’s agent, Nez Balelo of CAA baseball in a lengthy statement.
“This morning, after a thorough, detailed process, Shohei Ohtani has decided to sign with the Los Angeles Angels. Shohei is humbled and flattered by all the time and effort that so many teams put into their presentations and sincerely thanks them for their professionalism. In the end, he felt a strong connection with the Angels and believes they can best help him reach his goals in Major League Baseball.”
The 23-year-old Otani, who is a dual-threat, has been known to throw a 100 mile per hour fastball but also packs power in his swing. That could help him join the Angels’ pitching rotation and also work in the designated hitter spot if necessary.
The Los Angeles Angels finished the 2017 MLB season at 80-82 which had them second in the American League West division behind the World Series champions, the Houston Astros. The team missed out on an AL Wild Card spot by just five games.
The team ranked among the bottom third of all MLB teams for hits and runs while ranking at 12th for their pitching ERA. Otani will certainly give a boost to their lineup as the Angels pursue that playoff berth they missed this past MLB season.