Why Would White Sox Be The Right Fit for Shohei Ohtani?

TOKYO, JAPAN - NOVEMBER 12: Shohei Ohtani
TOKYO, JAPAN - NOVEMBER 12: Shohei Ohtani /

White Sox can showcase why they’re the best option for international free agent as his representatives sent a memo to all 30 teams to explain why their organization would be a good fit.

The Chicago White Sox have added solid talent to its organization over the past year through many trades, good drafting, and quality international free agent signings. With the team entering its second season of rebuilding in 2018, they won’t hesitate to add more depth.

However, one player they might have to hesitate in signing is Shohei Ohtani, who will be posted by his home team to the free agent market soon. Othani currently plays for Nippon Ham Fighters of Nippon Professional Baseball in Japan. Ohtani can be posted by the Ham Fighters as early as Dec. 1.

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Any team looking to sign Ohtani, will have to pay a maximum $20 million posting fee to his home team. Although Othani could be pursued by any MLB team, only a handful of teams have uncommitted international signing bonus pool space over $1.5 million to offer the Japanese pitcher and outfielder.

The Sox can’t offer Ohtani more than $300,000 as they went over their international signing bonus pool allotment when they signed Luis Robert this past Spring. Although the Sox can’t offer Ohtani more than $300,000, they aren’t limited to showing why they would be a good fit for him in the future.

Ohtani’s agency, CAA sent a memo to all 30 MLB teams requesting written explanations in English and Japanese on why their organization would be a good fit for their organization. Although Ohtani could get more signing bonus money from teams such as the New York Yankees or Texas Ranges, his agency has given every team a chance to prove their worth.

With the Sox currently rebuilding, they could accelerate their rebuild with the addition of Ohtani. The 23-year-old has expressed a desire to pitch and hit regularly in the majors. The Sox could offer Ohtani the chance to hit as a designated hitter and pitch every fifth day. According to MLBTradeRumors.com, Ohtani’s agency is looking for certain specifics mentioned below from interested MLB teams.

  1. “An evaluation of Shohei’s talent as a pitcher and/or a hitter;
  2. “Player development, medical, training, and player performance philosophies and capabilities;
  3. “Major League, Minor League, and Spring Training facilities;
  4. “Resources for Shohei’s cultural assimilation;
  5. “A detailed plan for integrating Shohei into the organization;
  6. “Why the city and franchise are a desirable place to play;
  7. “Relevant marketplace characteristics.”

The Sox could certainly offer good reasons on why they would be a good fit for Ohtani. Over the past year, the Sox have shown they can develop their top prospects with enough patience required to not rush any of them to the majors. The Sox also have one of the better training staffs in MLB and their facilities aren’t bad.

Another factor for the Sox in attempting to lure Ohtani is their ability to sign and develop international free agents. Although they haven’t had a lot of success in signing Japanse players, they have been able to sign and develop international talent from other countries. The best success story for the Sox signing a player from Japan is with Tadahito Iguchi. Iguchi helped the Sox win the World Series in 2005.

Where the Sox could struggle is proving to Ohtani that they’re a much more desirable franchise to play with than those of the Yankees, Red Sox, Dodgers, and even the Cubs. The Sox are often overlooked nationally and locally, so it could be hard for the organization to showcase they’re a much better destination than many of the more popular major league teams.

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The Sox could heavily detail their current rebuild and how signing Ohtani could push them much closer to contention. With a bevy of talented youngsters already on the roster, and many top prospects close to being promoted, the Sox could boast that Ohtani could join a team that could be contending for multiple World Series championships very soon.