They’re considered long-shots but the Phillies are making a case to Shohei Ohtani
Shohei Ohtani will be coming to the United States next season and the Phillies will try to make their case to Japan’s Babe Ruth. Todd Zolecki of MLB.com says the club will at the very least fill out a questionnaire sent by Ohtani’s agent to all 30 MLB teams asking them why the two-way star should sign with their team.
Ohtani could be the biggest prize of the offseason coming over from Japan. He’s been known to hit 100 MPH as an elite pitcher while clubbing 20 home runs as a designated hitter. Ohtani has expressed a desire to continue his two-way play, which likely limits him to the American League where he can be the designated hitter.
Because of the new posting rule agreed to with the Japanese league, Major League teams can only offer players whatever money they have in their international signing pool. Unfortunately for Philadelphia, their international money is dried up with only $900,000 available to offer Ohtani.
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Compared to the Rangers $3.5 million followed by the Yankees and Mariners the financial benefits of coming to Philadelphia are limited for Ohtani.
Zolecki does point out the organization’s history in Japan with two members of their managerial fraternity having played overseas. Recently hired manager Gabe Kapler played one season in Japan during the 2005 campaign for the Yomiuri Giants.
Charlie Manuel had a much more prominent career in Japan where he had a fantastic six-year run as one of Japan’s great power hitters. Manuel hit 189 home runs during his six seasons with the Yakult Swallows and the Osaka Kintetsu Buffaloes. Fluent in Japanese Manuel will likely be consulted when the team sends their responses to Ohtani’s questionnaire in both English and Japanese.
It’s heavily unlikely Ohtani comes to Philadelphia, but it’s promising to know the organization is turning over every rock on their path to a championship. Once he is officially posted by his Japanese club Ohtani will have 21 days to sign with a club.