The Angels pulled off a massive surprise Friday in earning the commitment of Japanese pitching/hitting sensation Shohei Ohtani, perhaps the most widely wooed prospect in baseball history. His decision to sign with the Angels for relative peanuts could alter the middling franchise’s course forever: They could slot him atop their starting rotation and in the middle of their lineup for years to come.
The mysterious process of pursuing the 23-year-old pitcher and hitter became an all-out sweepstakes this offseason, with nearly all Major League Baseball teams involved. None of them knew exactly what Ohtani sought in his destination. For months, many league executives privately expressed beliefs that high-profile teams such as the Dodgers or the New York Yankees would be the favorites.
Not so. Once Ohtani was officially posted one week ago, some of his finalists were small-market clubs, and most were located on the West Coast. The Angels survived Sunday’s first cut down to seven teams. On Monday, team representatives met with him in Los Angeles, making a two-hour pitch.
On Friday, they won the whole thing.
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