Shohei Ohtani wants all 30 MLB clubs to make a case in writing for why he should sign with them, including evaluations of Ohtani as a hitter and pitcher, descriptions of the team’s medical training, player development process and facilities, and why said team would be the most comfortable fit.
He also wants the proposals to detail how teams plan to use him as he attempts to pitch and hit at the major league level.
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Because Ohtani’s unique free agency won’t be about who throws the most money his way, teams are going to have to get creative when it comes to their proposals. With that in mind, here’s a totally serious pitch for every team.
Well, some may be more serious than others.
Diamondbacks: “You can show Zack Greinke what a good hitting pitcher actually looks like.”
Braves: “We have a great track record of signing international players. Now we would like to try keeping one.”
Orioles: “We need a starter. We always need a starter. The fact that you can hit is icing on the cake.”
Red Sox: “You know, this is where the original Babe Ruth got his start.”
Cubs: “Letting you hit and pitch will hardly be the most unorthodox thing our manager does in 2018.”
White Sox: “Follow in the footsteps of 2005 World Series champion Tadahito Iguchi.”
Reds: “Have you heard about Fiona the hippo?”
Indians: “Having a stressful day? Play Scrabble with Tito. If you’re lucky, he’ll share his popsicles, too.”
Rockies: “Our new spring training hats are fire.”
Tigers: “We personally guarantee that you’ll never have to meet Kid Rock if you come here.”
Astros: “We just won the World Series, but Dallas Keuchel is insisting we add another ace.”
Royals: “Other cities may tout their barbecue, but ours is the best.”
Angels: “Mike Trout is in desperate need of your help.”
Dodgers: “Man, it’s a really good place to find yourself a taco.”
Marlins: “Your signing bonus is a complimentary gift basket.”
Brewers: “Bernie Brewer will let you use his slide on your days off.”
Twins: “You might have to play a few games in the snow. You cool with that?”
Mets: “Citi Field has Shake Shack. ‘Nuff said.”
Yankees: “Here you can hit, pitch and manage if you want.”
Athletics: “The Bay Area makes for easy travel back and forth to Japan.”
Phillies: “So you want to know about medical training and player development? Wait until you get a load of Gabe Kapler.”
Pirates: “We hope you like bridges and Primanti Brothers.”
Padres: “It never rains here. That’s probably our biggest selling point. It might be our only one.”
Giants: “The Bay Area makes for easy travel back and forth to Japan — and we’re actually trying to compete.”
Mariners: “We want you so badly we’re willing to put Nelson Cruz in the outfield.”
Cardinals: “You would be a lot cheaper than Giancarlo Stanton, and he can’t even pitch!”
Rays: “Unlike these other teams, we actually have experience letting players hit and pitch.”
Rangers: “Did we mention we have the most money to offer you?”
Blue Jays: “Toronto is home to 20,000 Japanese-Canadians. Plus, it’s the only MLB city where you’ll find Tim Hortons and bags of milk.”
Nationals: “We’ve got the Japanese embassy.”
Your move, Mr. Ohtani.