first_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error The Angels and Dodgers are now both confirmed to be set for face-to-face meetings with Shohei Ohtani this week in Southern California, the next step in the pursuit of the Japanese superstar.The Padres, Seattle Mariners, San Francisco Giants, Texas Rangers and Chicago Cubs round out the final seven, with the other 23 teams eliminated.Ohtani, 23, is expected to meet with representatives of the seven teams this week, likely with visits to their cities coming later in the process. He has to make a decision by Dec. 22.As the baseball world watches the situation unfold, here are answers to some of your most popular questions: HOW MUCH MONEY CAN TEAMS OFFER?Because Ohtani falls under baseball’s international signing limits, his potential bonus is a relatively insignificant sum. The Rangers can offer the most, $3.535 million, followed by the Mariners ($1.55 million) and Angels ($1.315 million). The Dodgers, Padres, Cubs and Giants are all limited to $300,000, a penalty for exceeding their pool in recent years. The up-front cost to whichever team signs Ohtani will be his bonus plus a $20 million posting fee to the Nippon Ham Fighters.WHAT ABOUT OHTANI’S SALARY IN 2018 AND BEYOND?Ohtani has to be signed to a minor league deal. When he’s initially added to the 40-man roster next season, he’ll make the major league minimum of $545,000. He’ll have three years in which he can be optioned, just like any other rookie. He won’t be eligible for arbitration until after his third season, at the earliest, and for free agency until after his sixth. If he performs as expected in his first year, it’s likely his team will offer him some sort of multi-year deal long before he’s eligible for free agency. That could be anything from a five-year deal taking him through arbitration to a 10-year, $200-million deal going into free agency. Teams are strictly prohibited from making any sort of promises to him about future payments during the period before he signs, though.IS HE REALLY A GREAT PITCHER AND A GREAT HITTER?The industry seems to value him primarily as a pitcher. He is a right-hander who throws 100 mph. In parts of five seasons in Japan’s major leagues, he has a 2.52 ERA with 624 strikeouts in 543 innings. The 200 walks might be an issue, though.A left-handed hitter, he’s hit .286 with an .859 OPS and 48 homers in 1,170 plate appearances. There is some skepticism that he can hit at an impact level in the majors.HOW DID HE SPLIT THE ROLES IN JAPAN?He didn’t hit on the days that he pitched, or the days immediately before or after. That limited his plate appearances to a maximum of 382 in a season. He averaged a little more than 200 plate appearances per season. He also got all of his at-bats in the past three years as a designated hitter or pinch hitter. He has played only 62 games in the outfield in five years, none since 2014. He has not played any other positions in games in Japan.center_img SO HOW DOES THAT WORK IN THE MAJORS?Obviously, the three American League teams would most likely use Ohtani in the same way, DH-ing him on two or three days a week, when he’s not pitching. In the Angels’ case, General Manager Billy Eppler has said Albert Pujols is expected to be healthy enough to play more first base in 2018, which would open some DH opportunities for Ohtani.In the National League, he’ll obviously get to hit on the days he pitches – again, something he preferred not to do in Japan – but it will be complicated to get him regular at-bats otherwise. Considering how infrequently he played the field in Japan, it would seem to be a lot to ask for him to adjust to that, while adjusting to everything else, in the majors. It would also increase his risk of injury.The advantage for National League teams, however, is he’s guaranteed to get some at-bats when he pitches, whereas an AL team could just give up on him hitting if it doesn’t work out initially.last_img

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