The LA Angels and their fans have something to be excited about. Really excited about. The Halos beat out six other clubs for the most desired free agent of the offseason in Shohei Ohtani.
The LA Angels and Shohei Ohtani reached a deal on Friday, as the Japanese phenom will be taking his talents to Anaheim for the next six years. The Angels will be paying him their entire international pool salary, while also paying his Japan league team upwards of $20 million dollars this year.
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Ohtani has long been touted as the “Japanese Babe Ruth” for his excellence on the mound and at the plate. There have been skeptics when it comes to his future as a designated hitter, but the weapons he has when taking the mound are seen as a potentially elite arsenal.
The Angels were seen as long shots to sign Ohtani. However, general manager Billy Eppler made two trades to acquire more international free agent money leading up to the decision. The Halos do still have enough money to bring in a big name free agent from the United States, such as a Mike Moustakas.
Ohtani gives the Angels and their fans hope. With Mike Trout‘s contract expiring in three years, this gives him a reason to stay. If he still decides to bolt, Ohtani will be 26, going into his prime, and can become the best player on the Angels. Worst case scenario, Ohtani is an insurance plan.
And he is some pretty good insurance.
Ohtani immediately steps in front of Garrett Richards as the ace of the Halos rotation. He will also be their part-time designated hitter. Ohtani will likely hit in games that don’t come directly before or after his starts. He also dislikes hitting on days when he takes the mound, so the team will still use a DH then.
In the end, Billy Eppler once again proved how great of a GM he is with this signing. Not only did the Halos bring in Ohtani, but they kept him away from the Mariners and Rangers, who were also both finalists. The Halos have given their fans an early Christmas present, and it is one to be excited about.