In what might be considered the coup of this offseason, the Los Angeles Angels are the winners of the sweepstakes involving Japanese phenom Shohei Ohtani.
Nez Balelo the agent for Ohtani released a prepared statement on Friday that revealed the Japanese two-way player chose to play for the Angels after being courted by all 30 of the teams in Major League Baseball.
The Angels plan to introduce Ohtani at a Saturday 3:00 p.m. news conference at Angel Stadium.
Balelo in is statement said that Ohtani decided to sign with the Angels after a detailed and thorough process. The statement continued by saying the young player was flattered and humbled by the time and effort so many pro teams put into trying to convince him to play for them.
However, in the end, Ohtani felt a significant connection to the Angels and he believes the team can help him to reach his personal goals in MLB.
Ohtani, who is just 23, starred as a left-handed slugger and right-handed ace in Japan, and became this offseason’s most coveted free agent after becoming available last week.
The Angels were amongst seven teams who Ohtani and his handlers selected to meet with the player and on Monday night met with him.
Club officials said that Mike Trout, the star outfielder for the Angels was preparing on the East Coast for his wedding on Saturday but called to speak to Ohtani on FaceTime.
Trout told Ohtani he would have been there but his wedding was this weekend so he had to keep a significant number of people happy. However, he wanted to take the opportunity to speak with him.
Angels officials called Ohtani humble and simple and felt very good about him as a person.
In Japan, Ohtani used No. 11, but that number was retired for Jim Fregosi by the Angels. On Friday, the team tweeted the video of a jersey that was being made with the name Ohtani on the back with the No. 17.
General manager Jon Daniels of the Texas Rangers, one of the finalists in the sweepstakes, said that the team was disappointed by the decision made by Ohtani, but wished him well playing in Anaheim.
The Angels will likely use their remaining $2.315 million international bonus pool to sign the Japanese player, and will pay another $20 million post fee to Japan’s Nippon-Ham Fighters.