Shohei Ohtani, the prize of this offseason, has chosen to sign the Angels. While many were expecting his decision to come early next week or over the weekend, Ohtani made his decision before Winter Meetings and will make his home in Anaheim for his first few years in the league.
The New York Post’s Joel Sherman shared the statement from Ohtani’s agent on the decision:
“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.
In other words, thanks for all the fawning and the massive pitches you put together, but I’m taking my talents to Los Angeles (or...the outskirts of it at least).
The rest of his statement further thanked the clubs and noted how much of a difficult choice this was for him to make, but that in the end he simply felt a “true bond” with the Angels and sees the organization as the best place to “reach his career goals.”
You can read the full content of it below:
Part two of Ohtani's statement: pic.twitter.com/FjRbILnQzl— Maria I. Guardado (@mi_guardado) December 8, 2017
Of the final teams in the running, the Angels looked to be very much in the race as of Wednesday when they acquired additional international bonus pool money from the Twins.
Ohtani’s priority wasn’t necessarily the money, but the Angels had the third-most international bonus pool money available of the teams in the final grouping, so it may have helped them in the end. Of course, the Mariners also traded for extra money and it didn’t help them, so who knows.
The Angels now have Ohtani and Mike Trout on the same team for the next few years, on top of Justin Upton and newly signed prospect Kevin Maitan (formerly of the Braves). For a team that didn’t even make the playoffs, 2018 is shaping up much better than Angels fans could have imagined when the season ended.
Congratulations, Angels fans. This will be fun!