U.S. Markets open in 9 hrs 13 mins

Shohei Ohtani sweepstakes intensify as two finalists acquire bonus money

The Angels and Mariners ramped up their efforts to sign Shohei Ohtani. (AP)

Shohei Ohtani is reportedly days (and perhaps even hours) away from making a decision on where he’ll sign. That means crunch time is nearing for the seven finalists still in the running, and at least two of those teams are apparently going all-in after making trades to acquire extra international slot money on Wednesday night.

According to MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand, the Seattle Mariners finalized a trade that sent catching prospect David Banuelos to the Twins in exchange for international bonus money. Literally minutes later, the Los Angeles Angels completed a similar trade with the Twins. Ken Rosenthal of the Athletic reports the Angels acquired $1 million in international slot money for outfielder Jacob Pearson.

The Rangers, Padres, Cubs, Giants and Dodgers are the other five teams Ohtani is considering. He’s reportedly met with all seven teams since arriving to the United States over the weekend, and it appears his decision is now reaching the financial stage.

It’s actually pretty ironic given how little emphasis we’ve put on money during this process. Given his age and MLB’s international signing rules, teams can only offer the 23-year-old Ohtani the bonus money that’s available in their international pool. That means he came over knowing his biggest paydays would be years down the road, but perhaps he is looking to get as close to the maximum as possible.

That would seemingly still bode well for the Texas Rangers. They can still offer the most money at $3.535 million, but the Mariners and Angels gained some ground on Wednesday night.

Here’s the updated look at the money each of the seven finalists can offer.


Worth noting, the final four teams are all capped at $300,000 based on their past international spending. They can only enhance their sales pitch with promises of opportunity and usage that satisfies Ohtani’s desire to remain a two-way player.

On the other side of this is the Minnesota Twins, who have actually turned a disappointing situation for them into a positive. As Rosenthal pointed out, they had saved some international slot money with the hopes of signing Ohtani themselves. Now that they know they’re out, they’ve been able to turn that money into two respectable prospects.


Shrewd indeed.

The hot stove may have taken awhile to get warmed up this winter, but the news that both Ohtani and Giancarlo Stanton could make decisions this week has things reaching a fever pitch. Wednesday’s trades only enhance the likelihood that something big is going to happen very soon, and if one or both happen it’s going to get crazy.

More MLB coverage from Yahoo Sports:

– – – – – – –

Mark Townsend is a writer for Yahoo Sports Have a tip? Email him at bigleaguestew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!