Phillies may want Shohei Otani, but he’d rather just visit

TOKYO, JAPAN - NOVEMBER 10: Designated hitter Shohei Ohtani of Japan is seen during a practice session prior to the international friendly match between Japan and Mexico at the Tokyo Dome on November 10, 2016 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Masterpress/Getty Images)
TOKYO, JAPAN - NOVEMBER 10: Designated hitter Shohei Ohtani of Japan is seen during a practice session prior to the international friendly match between Japan and Mexico at the Tokyo Dome on November 10, 2016 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Masterpress/Getty Images) /
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The Phillies expressed some interest in Shohei Otani, but it appears he would rather just visit the City of Brotherly Love.

The Phillies showed some initial interest in Japanese hitting-pitching phenom Shohei Otani, filling out the questionnaire sent by his agent to all 30 MLB teams. In that questionnaire, the team could list out why Otani could come play baseball in Philadelphia.

However, an MLB.com interview conducted in February implies that Otani only wants to visit the City of Brotherly Love:

"MLB.com: What do you like about daily life in the United States?Ohtani: I’ve only been to Hawaii and Arizona, but I like the huge steaks.MLB.com: What cities are you curious about and would like to see?Ohtani: The Rocky Balboa statue, I want a picture of that.MLB.com: Philadelphia has a baseball team, you know.Ohtani: No, I just want to visit there."

Yeah Philadelphia is lovely this time of the year (when the Eagles are good), you can see where the nation was founded, check out Center City…wait a second. Without potentially even realizing it, Otani completely knocked the Phils right off the negotiation table, killing the dreams of any fans hoping Philadelphia could somehow snag him.

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In fairness, it’s hard to imagine a scenario where Otani would sign here anyway. The club only has about $900,000 in international signing money. Meanwhile, other teams have more than $3 million in signing money they can use to sway Otani’s decision.

In addition, Otani has expressed the desire to both pitch and hit, likely meaning he would be a designated hitter. This would limit him to American League teams, who coincidentally are the ones with that large amount of signing money, only making it more of a reality that he winds up in the AL.

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I guess Otani will just have to visit the city whenever the team he signs comes here. Meanwhile, we will have to keep working on the Rhys Hoskins-Aaron Nola fusion machine.