*Walter Hernandez brings us his latest take on the Ohtani situation. Walter is fluent in Japanese and is an avid Padre fan. He is all over this situation and has graciously decided to contribute to EVT. We can only hope Ohtani comes to San Diego, but it all remains to be seen.
Addendum to the Questionnaire and Why Ohtani Should Sign with the Padres
Shohei Otani (Ohtani) has finally been posted, and numerous teams are scheduled to meet with his group in the coming week. As Nikkan Sports’s article has noted (translation is found here), the Padres, though a rather discounted team among the pundits for the duration of the Ohtani-rumors existence, are one of the five teams of strong candidacy to acquire the Japanese two-way star.
In the last piece I wrote, I suggested that the circumstances seem very similar to when Ohtani decided to sign with the Fighters instead of bypassing NPB to come to the MLB back in 2012; an article from San Diego Union-Tribune confirmed that the Padres indeed submitted a ‘detailed PowerPoint’ to Ohtani and his representative. Also, I forgot to mention that Ohtani’s side insisted not to include financial terms in the answer to the questionnaire, which confirms that the money is not a deciding factor.
There was a tweet from Jon Morosi earlier that Ohtani may prefer teams that have no established Japanese star, and would not mind the rebuild. In his press conference (Japanese) to announce his intent to be posted, Ohtani was the question by a reporter:
“As you have mentioned earlier that you wanted to ask teams about how they feel about the two-way player and the fact that the signing bonus will significant be limited due to CBA Amateur international free agent rule, I personally believe that what kind of [intangible] offer a team can make is much more important than the dollar figure. There are things to consider such as [whether a team permits] two-way player or whether there is DH or not, or an accessibility to Japanese cuisine; of those points, what do you consider to be the most important?”
And Ohtani responded.
“I think I am not perfect, so I would like to grow as a person, and would like to go to a team that allows me to do just that”.
The Padres fit the mold of his ideal team perfectly. As mentioned in the last article, the Padres have necessary flexibility in both their roster and starting rotation to accommodate his landing. It is hard to say that for teams like the Dodgers, Yankees, and the Mariners, who were in contention for the playoffs last year and would plan to do so the next year. I am not, by any means, suggesting that Ohtani cannot survive the internal competition among the playoff bound teams. Nor am I suggesting he cannot hold his own both ways. I am merely suggesting that Ohtani would not want to be a burden to his team, if the team has to sacrifice other players’ playing time in order to put him on the field. This, in my opinion, is a relevant point; in the report from Nikkan Sports, it was noted that Ohtani is concerned about him delaying the FA and trade market.
Another strength the Padres possess is the youth of the current roster and the opportunity to become the core of the team. As of 2017, the Padres were the youngest team, with an average age of 26.9 according to http://statista.com . With the stream of prospects that are expected to reach the big leagues in 2018 and beyond, it is foreseeable for that number to be lower come 2019. Should Shohei Ohtani establish himself from the beginning of 2018 to, say, 2020, the year the Padres should contend, it is in the realm of possibility that Ohtani becomes a household name in San Diego, and he could also become the voice inside the dugout.
The Yankees are considered as the ‘supreme candidate’ at the moment. To me, that has no credibility at all, except that people want him to go to New York and they can throw money at him. But, when there are so many dots connecting him to other places, you have to pay attention. A casual fan like myself can easily come up with numerous points that match Ohtani’s preference to a smaller market team. I am not buying any of their ‘professional analysis’ that they are feeding us, and neither should you.
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@padresJP for more rumor out of Japan. I tweet in Japanese for the most part, but I will tweet in English occasionally.