Shohei Ohtani has been referred to as Japan’s version of “Babe Ruth.” At just 23 years old, he has already won best hitter AND best pitcher awards in Japan’s Pacific League. Ohtani also has a Pacific League Championship under his belt. Per TwinkieTown.com, the overseas legend is prepared to attempt to duplicate all of that success in the MLB.
Is it possible he tries to duplicate it in a Twins uniform? YOU BETCHA!
Shohei Ohtani can pitch over 100 MPH and hit homers literally through the roof.
He may become MLB's first true two-way player in a long, long time.pic.twitter.com/10igb783gz
— SB Nation (@SBNation) November 11, 2017
How would he end up in Minnesota? Why would he choose the “State of Hockey” over playing for the Cadillacs of the MLB: Yankees and Dodgers? Part of the answer relates back to the Great Bambino comparison. That comparison doesn’t come from Ohtani’s ability to hit with power or hammer-jack hot dogs. It comes from his ability to both pitch and hit. He has made it very clear that he wants to do both in the majors. Thad Lavine made it clear yesterday we are down for both:
— MLB Network PR (@MLBNetworkPR) November 13, 2017
Unfortunately, the Twins are far from the only franchise that has expressed the willingness to let him try pitching and hitting. Here are three additional reasons to believe Minnesota has a real chance to sign Ohtani:
- Rather than go to a fully established situation, he has expressed desire to part of a rebuilding process. The Twins are a rebuilding process on steroids.
- Per Darren Wolfson and Joe Schmidt (below), we hired a new trainer with a Japanese background. This MAY have to do with the Darvish pursuit. Whatever it may be, the timing of this signing doesn’t seem to be a coincidence. Let’s hope this new guy has a little salesman in him.
— Darren Wolfson (@DWolfsonKSTP) November 16, 2017
- Since he isn’t American or Canadian, Ohtani can only sign to a minor league deal. Where he can get paid the most is via a signing bonus. Teams have limited funds available to offer for this type of bonus. Out all of 30 MLB teams, MN has the 3rd most money available in their international signing pool ($3.25 Million).
The failed physical of Jelfry Marte opened up an additional $3 Million for Falvy and Lavine to potentially offer Ohtani. Hopefully, for his personal sake, the Dominican born Marte can get his vision problems fixed.
Much of Twins Nation is now gun-shy around this type of international signings. There is 100% rational fear surrounding these rumors. Tsuyoshi Nishioka came to us from Japan in 2011. His short tenure here was nothing but a cigarette smoking disaster. South Korean, Byung Ho Park, is still with the organization. However, many of us have ZERO faith that he’ll make it past Rochester next season. A LOT can change over 20 months:
— Minnesota Twins (@Twins) March 11, 2016
You have to have faith. Third time is a charm. 3 million + dollars sounds like a hell of a lot of money. In this realm, it really isn’t. Boston committed 50+ Million to Dice-K before he played a MLB game. The risk of losing 3.25 million is well worth the potential reward associated with Ohtani.
Sorry Ichiro, but you’re done. There is a new-age Japanese stud with an ABSOLUTE CANNON:
Shohei Ohtani’s OF throw from high school. pic.twitter.com/6Evi6RXxfc
— Sung Min Kim (@sung_minkim) November 13, 2017
Photo: Atsushi Tomura/Kazuhiro Nogi/AFP/Getty Images