Passan: Four reasons why MLB’s hot stove is lukewarm

From Jeff Passan at Yahoo! Sports on November 28, 2017:

Over the weekend, executives across baseball hunkered down in their offices to fill out a document. One general manager called it “the most important paper I’ve written since college.” Another scrambled to find someone to translate his version into proper Japanese. An executive, short on sleep, long on frustration, said: “This is so stupid.”

In anticipation of Shohei Ohtani’s posting, the agents for the 23-year-old Japanese star sent a memo to all 30 teams, asking them to explain why Ohtani fits in their organization. Some executives rolled their eyes. Others saw it as an opportunity to differentiate themselves. Each wound up doing the same thing: Putting together their best sales pitch for what everyone agrees is a once-in-a-lifetime player, not simply because of his talent as a pitcher and hitter but the absurd discount in which teams may realize well over $100 million in surplus value.

“Shohei Ohtani,” one agent said, “is like the baseball version of the new Amazon headquarters.”

He is, according to people around the game, a lot of things. A staggering talent, capable of throwing a ball 102 mph from the right side and hitting it like a leviathan from the left side and running with the speed of Mike Trout despite standing 6-foot-5 and 230 pounds. A complete mystery, part of which is adding to executives’ agita, in that because they know so little about him, they aren’t certain how, exactly, to frame their answers to the questionnaire. A bargain, seeing as the largest signing bonus he’ll receive is $3.5 million and the fee owed his Japanese team, the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters, is only $20 million.

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Originally published: November 29, 2017. Last Updated: November 29, 2017.