The baseball world is abuzz with the news that the Japanese standout two-way player Shohei Ohtani is now available in the Major League Baseball free agent market. Ohtani is a rare talent that excels at both pitching and hitting.
Cubs manager Joe Maddon weighed in on the situation by saying, “I’ve always been intrigued by the concept. I see nothing wrong with it. How you utilize it? I think a lot of that would be in progress. You’d have an idea of what you want to do, then you’d figure out more as you do it. But yeah, I definitely think it’s something that’s the wave of the future in a sense.”
Ohtani has been compared to Babe Ruth by some because Ruth was one of the last players to be successful on both the mound and at the plate. Ohtani has made it very clear what he wants and has taken a very different approach to the free agent market than other players have in the past.
For instance, Ohtani made all 30 major league teams take a test and write back to Ohtani with why he should sign with their team. After the initial test, Ohtani has narrowed his list down to ten teams. Surprisingly, the New York Yankees were one team that did not make that final list of ten teams.
Ohtani said that he did not want to deal with the pressures of playing in a city where the media is so relentless. Instead, Ohtani has said that he would rather play in a smaller market and right now it looks like the Seattle Mariners are the favorite to sign him.
This would not be the first time the Mariners have signed a Japanese born player. In 2001, the Mariners signed Ichiro Suzuki, who would go on to have one of the best careers in the history of baseball. It’s possible that the Mariners will strike gold yet again with Ohtani.