Angels and Mariners acquire International Bonus Pool Space from Twins

Doug Mendoza
December 8, 2017

It's down to just seven teams for the signature of Shohei Otani.

But the Mariners general manager's actions speak volumes about their dogged pursuit of the most coveted free agent of the offseason.

In an attempt to add to their bid for touted Japanese righthander and slugger Shohei Otani, the Angels dealt one of their top picks in this year's draft for a $1 million in worldwide bonus pool space from the Twins on Wednesday night.

The separate trades saw the Mariners send catcher David Banuelos and the Angels outfielder Jacob Pearson to the Twins.

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Teams interested in signing Ohtani are limited to the amount they have available in their global bonus pools. The Rangers have the most to offer Ohtani-$3.5 million as a maximum bonus, which is still a wildly depressed figure from what he'd receive if he were allowed to come to Major League Baseball as an worldwide professional instead of as an amateur, but if money mattered that much to Ohtani he would have waited to come over as a full-fledged free agent in a couple years.

The Giants, Dodgers, Padres and Cubs can only offer Ohtani a bonus of $300,000 because they exceeded their bonus pool under the previous collective bargaining agreement. He was selected in the fifth round of the 2017 draft out of Long Beach State and signed for a $300,000 bonus. Seattle, Los Angeles and Texas are among seven teams believed to be in the running for Ohtani.

The meetings followed talks Monday with the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Los Angeles Angels and the San Francisco Giants. The worldwide bonus pool money is the only additional dollars that teams can pay Ohtani.

These transactions were done independently of one another, of course, but the ultimate result here is that one of these teams, if not both, will be moving on without Ohtani and without one of their best prospects. However, he has a slew of endorsements in Japan and likely will add more once he joins the Major League Baseball that help keep him well-financed.

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