By Cam Giangrande
The MLB Team Letters to Shohei Ohtani
Japanese phenom Shohei Ohtani will be taking his skills to MLB next season. Dubbed “The Japanese Babe Ruth”, Ohtani will bring an impressive resume and two way skills, (pitching and hitting) with him. By all accounts, he is a pitcher first, but has expressed a desire to be in a batter’s box as well as on a pitcher’s mound.
His journey to MLB will be unique on many different levels. Due to international amateur rules, Ohtani won’t even receive five million dollars in his first contract; whereas, he’d make 20 times that amount if he waited until 2020. Because of that, literally all 30 teams can afford him. And, because money won’t be the prime reason he makes his decision, he’s put forth a set of questions for each team to answer.
The main issues Ohtani wants answered are: how is the team’s player development process, how is their medical staff, how are their facilities, do they have a process to assimilate into the community, and what are the overall prospects in the city and marketplace. This is a man who holds all the cards, and he seems ready to play them all. He will go EXACTLY where he believes he will have the best opportunity to showcase his skills.
Shohei Ohtani, Filthy 84mph Slider movement (home plate view). ? pic.twitter.com/noUjS8qD53
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) November 29, 2017
I’ve been able to identify the five finalists and pen their “letters” to Mr Ohtani and his representatives. The five teams are The Red Sox, The Twins, The Mariners, The Dodgers, and The Yankees.
My name is Dave Dombrowski and I am the President of Baseball Operations for The Boston Red Sox. First let me say how big a fan of you everyone here in the Red Sox organization is, and how much we would love adding you to our family. Boston is a diverse and vibrant city. We are passionate about our baseball, and have a winning tradition; having won three world series in the 21st century, (2004, 2007, 2013). I know you are called, “the Japanese Babe Ruth”. I don’t know if you know, but we were the first team Babe Ruth played on, and we would love to have the next Babe Ruth start his career with us, too. We have experience with Japanese players, having signed Daisuke Matsuzaka, so we know the inherent pitfalls that can arise, and we know we’ll be best suited to maneuver through them, when and if they come up. And finally, you can pitch, hit, coach, or do whatever else you’d like to do for the team.
My name is Thad Levine, general manager of the Minnesota Twins. I am so excited about the potential prospect of having you join our team. Usually, we can’t compete for a talent of your caliber, which makes this so exciting. We are built to win now. We have the reigning manager of the year, so your assimilation to the major leagues will be under the tutelage and guidance of a wonderful leader in Hall of Famer, Paul Molitor. We are willing to go to a six-man rotation to accommodate your pitching schedule, and have you hit either as DH or in the field on your non-pitching days. You will fit in ideally with our core group of young players, which showcases our ability to develop in-house talent. Our stadium is one of baseball’s newest with state of the art equipment. And finally, don’t underestimate the Minnesota marketplace for ancillary opportunities. When you hear Minnesota, think hip. In closing, join us, and be part of something truly special.
Dear Mr Ohtani,
I am writing this to you from the wonderfully diverse, Pacific Northwest; in Seattlle Washington. This is Jerry Dipoto, Executive Vice President and General Manager of the Seattle Mariners. First, let me discuss the 600-pound gorilla in the room; I realize our team doesn’t have the winning pedigree of some of the other teams you are no doubt getting offers from. This is why we need and want you so badly. It is my goal that you will be the catalyst in putting us all over the top for years to come. As you know, we have one of the best pitchers of the past decade in Felix Hernandez. We also have young lefty, James Paxton. And, it is my understanding that Yu Darvish is one of your idols. He is currently a free agent. We will do whatever it takes to sign him and have the two of you as catalysts of our pitching rotation. We have a passionate fan base, and a very large Asian-American population which should help you assimilate into our beautiful city. And, geographically, we are the closest city to your homeland of Japan. Part of our package will include usage of our team plane to commute back and forth to Japan whenever you get homesick. We are committed to you.
To: “Babe Ruth”
The Dodgers want you! We have one of the most recognizable names in all of sports. We have a winning tradition and were just in the World Series this past year. I am all about winning, and don’t settle for anything but success. I surround myself with greatness, which is why I want you so badly…YOU ARE GREAT! You can pitch, hit; do whatever you want as long as it helps us win. I’m all about winning, and I did whatever it took when I was playing. Here is a DVD of my greatest games…note Game Seven of the NBA Finals against the 76ers, when I played center. That’s sort of like you, hitting and pitching. In some ways, we’re very similar. The stadium is great, our minor league facilities, and player development staff are all great. It’s always sunny here, why would you choose anyone else?
Dear Mr Ohtani,
This is Brian Cashman of the New York Yankees. I realize you truly have your choice with regards to going wherever you feel is best for you. I would love the opportunity to prove that the Yankees are the right team for you. No team has the long-term success and reputation for greatness as the Yankees. As I’m sure you know, we are the team Babe Ruth was on, during our first great dynasty. In fact, our stadium was called, “The House that Ruth built”. Having the “Japanese Babe Ruth” on our team makes all the sense in the world. We already have experience with the Japanese market, having Masahiro Tanaka as the ace of our staff and Hideki Matsui in the past. I want you to be an integral part of that staff. And of course, we will allow you to hit during the year. Although I make no guarantees to exact at bats, I can promise that our goal will be to maximize your skills to maximize the team’s success. As far as diversity and overall opportunity, no city can compete with New York. Our medical staff is second to none, and our player development staff is remarkable…(simply look at Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez). Becoming a Yankee just doesn’t make sense, it is a match made in heaven. We hope you agree.
FULL DISCLOSURE: OF COURSE, THIS IS A PARODY OF LETTERS OHTANI MAY BE RECEIVING.
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