Two-way Japanese star Shohei Ohtani to sign with Angels

The Angels have won the Shohei Ohtani sweepstakes, the Japanese baseball star’s agent, Nez Balelo, announced Friday, and the team later confirmed.

The Angels were one of seven finalists for Ohtani’s services — the Giants, Dodgers, Cubs, Rangers, Mariners and Padres also made bids. 

“This morning, after a thorough, detailed process, Shohei Ohtani has decided to sign with the Los Angeles Angels,” Balelo said in a statement. “Shohei is humbled and flattered by all the time and effort that so many teams put into their presentations and sincerely thanks them for their professionalism. In the end, he felt a strong connection with the Angels and believes they can best help him reach his goals in Major League Baseball.”

While previous reports said Ohtani preferred playing for a West Coast or small-market team, Balelo’s statement continued, “While there has been much speculation about what would drive Shohei’s decision, what mattered to him most wasn’t market size, time zone or league but that he felt a true bond with the Angels. He sees this as the best environment to develop and reach the next level and attain his career goals.”

In Ohtani, 23, the Angels get a player unlike one ever seen in modern baseball. As a right-handed pitcher, he throws a 100 mph fastball. As a left-handed batter, he hit 48 home runs with 166 RBIs, while slashing .286/.358/.500 during his five seasons with the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters of the Japanese Pacific League. 

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