clear
Saturday April 21st, 2018 3:38AM

Japanese star pitcher-hitter Shohei Ohtani to join Angels

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Shohei Ohtani has decided he's on the side of the Angels.

The Japanese two-way star announced Friday he will sign with the Los Angeles Angels, ending the sweepstakes surrounding his move to the majors in a surprising destination.

Ohtani turned down interest from every other big league club to join two-time MVP Mike Trout with the Angels, who are coming off their second consecutive losing season and haven't won a playoff game since 2009.

But the Angels' combination of a promising young core and a beautiful West Coast location clearly appealed to the 23-year-old Ohtani, who has confounded baseball experts at almost every step of his move to the majors.

Ohtani's agent, Nez Balelo, issued a statement Friday announcing that the prized player had chosen the Angels over a field of finalists including Seattle and Texas, who could have given him more money.

Balelo said the 2016 Japanese MVP "felt a true bond with the Angels. He sees this as the best environment to develop and reach the next level and attain his career goals."

"We are honored Shohei Ohtani has decided to join the Angels organization," the team said in a statement. "We felt a unique connectivity with him throughout the process."

Ohtani is expected to be both a starting pitcher and a designated hitter for the Angels, who have said he will get ample playing time. Albert Pujols has largely been a designated hitter for the past two seasons, but the slugger is expected to be healthy enough to play first base more frequently in 2018.

Several teams made pitches to Ohtani earlier this week in Los Angeles before he chose the Angels, who play about 28 miles from downtown LA in Orange County.

Ohtani was coveted by every team because of his exceptional pitching talent and powerful bat, but also because he represents an extraordinary bargain due to baseball's rules around international players.

The Angels will have to pay the $20 million posting fee to Ohtani's previous club, the Nippon Ham Fighters, but Ohtani will not be paid a huge salary. Ohtani will sign a minor league contract and can receive up to $2,315,000 in international bonus money.

Ohtani is likely to have an immediate spot in the front of the rotation for the Angels, who have endured brutal injuries to their starting pitchers for two seasons. Los Angeles' ostensible ace is Garrett Richards, but he has been limited to 62 1/3 innings over the past two seasons due to major injuries.

Ohtani was 3-2 with a 3.20 ERA this year, but was slowed by thigh and ankle injuries. He hit .332 in 65 games with eight homers and 31 RBIs.

But those numbers don't indicate the incredible potential seen in Ohtani, whose fastball has been clocked at 102 mph. While he has occasionally struggled with control, Ohtani is widely thought to be a surefire big league pitching prospect.

The Angels have missed the playoffs in seven of the last eight seasons, but Ohtani's arrival is only the latest in a series of big moves for general manager Billy Eppler.

Shortly after the World Series ended, the Angels secured a five-year, $106 million deal with left fielder Justin Upton, a late-season trade acquisition. Upton is an ideal solution to years of underperformance in left field for the Angels, who have been carried offensively by Trout.

Earlier this week, Eppler bolstered his much-improved farm system by signing 17-year-old Venezuelan shortstop Kevin Maitan, a prospect considered the best of 13 players recently taken away from the Atlanta Braves for violating international signing rules.

___

More AP MLB: www.apnews.com/tags/MLBbaseball

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Sports, AP Online Baseball , AP National News, Top General short headlines, AP Sports - Major League Baseball, AP Sports - Minor League Baseball
© Copyright 2018 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
American evangelist leads rare event in communist Vietnam
More than 10,000 Vietnamese have filled up a stadium in a rare Christian evangelistic event led by the Rev. Franklin Graham
11:05PM ( 15 minutes ago )
George P Bush draws unlikely GOP challenge from predecessor
Former Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson is running again for his old office against his successor and fellow Republican George P. Bush
10:45PM ( 34 minutes ago )
Trump says US 'cannot afford' Roy Moore loss in Alabama
President Donald Trump is urging voters to elect a Republican Senate candidate in Alabama who has been dogged by allegations of sexual misconduct, warning that America "cannot afford" to have a Democrat win the hard-fought campaign instead
10:13PM ( 1 hour ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Oregon promotes Mario Cristobal to head coach
Oregon has promoted offensive coordinator Mario Cristobal to head coach
7:52PM ( 3 hours ago )
Browns owner says finding quarterback is top job for new GM
Browns owner: Mission for new general manager is to find the right quarterback
7:44PM ( 3 hours ago )
Japanese pitcher-hitter Shohei Ohtani chooses the LA Angels
Japanese star Shohei Ohtani is bringing his arm and bat to the Los Angeles Angels, pairing him with 2-time MVP Mike Trout.
7:43PM ( 3 hours ago )
AP Sports
Japanese star pitcher-hitter Shohei Ohtani to join Angels
Japanese star Shohei Ohtani is bringing his arm and bat to the Los Angeles Angels, pairing him with 2-time MVP Mike Trout.
4:11PM ( 7 hours ago )
Marlins' Dee Gordon traded to Mariners for 3 prospects
Miami second baseman Dee Gordon has been traded to the Seattle Mariners for three prospects in a deal that marks the start of the Marlins' latest payroll purge, this time under new CEO Derek Jeter
9:21PM ( 1 day ago )
Trade for Dee Gordon may help Mariners land Shohei Ohtani
Landing Dee Gordon via trade is an immediate upgrade for the Seattle Mariners but an extra $1 million in international signing bonus pool allocation may prove more important in trying to land Japanese star Shohei Ohtani
8:56PM ( 1 day ago )
AP Online Baseball
Trump boasts of defeating 'savage killers' here and abroad
President Donald Trump is touting his efforts to secure the homeland in front of telling a raucous rally crowd in the Florida panhandle
8:56PM ( 2 hours ago )
Fast-moving flames force people to flee on a moment's notice
Fast-moving California wildfires force people to flee on only a moment's notice
8:56PM ( 2 hours ago )
Suspect in Portland train stabbings says he was on autopilot
A man charged in the stabbing deaths of two commuters on a Portland light-rail train told a psychologist hired by his attorneys that he wasn't aware of his actions until he heard passengers yelling that he was killing people
8:42PM ( 2 hours ago )
AP National News
New Mexico school shooter left note plotting attack, suicide
A former student at a New Mexico high school left behind a message detailing his plans to shoot up a classroom and then kill himself
6:53PM ( 4 hours ago )
2 Democrats: Minnesota governor's top choice mulling '18 run
Two Democrats tell The Associated Press that Gov. Mark Dayton's preferred appointee to Sen. Al Franken's seat is considering also running in a special election for the seat next year
5:51PM ( 5 hours ago )
Dems mourn Franken's demise but see a 2018 election benefit
Shocking week that saw three members of Congress quit amid sexual harassment accusations could give Dems a political weapon in 2018
5:41PM ( 5 hours ago )
Top General short headlines
Boone knows he has to convince Yanks players he can do job
Aaron Boone admits one of his first tasks as New York Yankees manager is to convince his players he can do the job
12:39PM ( 2 days ago )
Jeter says Marlins have made no decision about Stanton
New Miami Marlins CEO Derek Jeter says the team has made no decision regarding right fielder Giancarlo Stanton, who is on the trading block following an MVP season
7:48PM ( 3 days ago )
Mikolas returns from Japan, agrees to $15.5M deal with Cards
Right-hander Miles Mikolas is returning from Japan, agreeing to a $15.5 million, two-year contract with the St. Louis Cardinals
2:25PM ( 3 days ago )
AP Sports - Major League Baseball
MLB approves Japan deal, allowing Ohtani bidding to start
Major League Baseball owners voted unanimously to approve a new posting agreement with their Japanese counterparts, a move that allowed bidding to start for coveted pitcher and outfielder Shohei Ohtani
10:05PM ( 1 week ago )
Yankees bench coach Rob Thomson 1st to interview for manager
Rob Thomson is the first candidate to be interviewed to replace the New York Yankees manager
9:35PM ( 4 weeks ago )
Red Sox hire Tony La Russa as special assistant
Red Sox hire former longtime manager, exec Tony La Russa as special assistant
8:17PM ( 1 month ago )
AP Sports - Minor League Baseball
American evangelist leads rare event in communist Vietnam
More than 10,000 Vietnamese have filled up a stadium in a rare Christian evangelistic event led by the Rev. Franklin Graham
11:05PM ( 15 minutes ago )
George P Bush draws unlikely GOP challenge from predecessor
Former Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson is running again for his old office against his successor and fellow Republican George P. Bush
10:45PM ( 35 minutes ago )
Trump says US 'cannot afford' Roy Moore loss in Alabama
President Donald Trump is urging voters to elect a Republican Senate candidate in Alabama who has been dogged by allegations of sexual misconduct, warning that America "cannot afford" to have a Democrat win the hard-fought campaign instead
10:13PM ( 1 hour ago )
Moore accuser: Expert confirmed his 1977 yearbook signature
An attorney for a woman who says Roy Moore sexually assaulted her in 1977 says a paid handwriting expert found his signature in her yearbook to be authentic.
9:56PM ( 1 hour ago )
Oladipo, Pacers end Cavaliers 13-game winning streak
Victor Oladipo had 33 points and eight rebounds and the Indiana Pacers beat Cleveland 106-102 to end the Cavaliers' winning streak at 13 games
9:49PM ( 1 hour ago )