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Monday, February 12, 2018

Will Shohei Ohtani’s success in Japan continue with Angels? Former teammates, Japanese baseball officials think so – Orange County Register

When Brandon Laird took his baseball career across the Pacific Ocean, he had never heard the name Shohei Ohtani, just some unbelievable stories about “the Babe Ruth of Japan.”

“I was like, he can’t be that good,” said Laird, an infielder who had previously spent parts of three seasons in the majors.

“I heard so much about him, but I just wanted to see it. Right from the get-go, I saw him throw in an intrasquad game. It was effortless. High 90s (fastball) and breaking balls. … He proved it to me. He’s just a different player.”

Laird, an Orange County product who had played against the likes of Justin Upton, Andrew McCutchen and Buster Posey in the minors, said that three years as Ohtani’s teammate with the Nippon Ham Fighters was enough to convince him.

“At his age, he’s one of the best, if not the best player I’ve ever seen or had the chance to play with,” Laird said of the 23-year-old Ohtani. “He’s almost like a 10-tool player, a pitcher and hitter who can do it all.”

Jim Furtado Posted: February 12, 2018 at 06:32 AM | 23 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: angels, shohei ohtani

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   1. JimMusComp likes Billy Eppler.... Posted: February 12, 2018 at 10:06 AM (#5623402)
I still can't believe Ohtani chose the Angels - it's kind of amazing. Watching video of his past WBC experience as well as reels of his hitting, he really does seem legit as both pitcher and hitter. It's going to be fun watching him this year, and with Kinsler, Cozart and a full year of Justin Upton the Angels should be a favorite for a WC birth as long as Richards, Heaney, Shoemaker, and Skaggs can stay healthy and give them 25-28 starts each.
   2. Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: February 12, 2018 at 10:22 AM (#5623427)
Have the Angels given any kind of indication as to what exactly they're planning to do with Ohtani? Starting pitcher who plays OF/DH on his off days? OF/DH who comes out of the bullpen?
   3. JimMusComp likes Billy Eppler.... Posted: February 12, 2018 at 10:51 AM (#5623442)
Yes. Starting pitcher who DH’s 2-3 days a week. They ruled out any OF time for him this year, and are planning a 6-man rotation to ease him into US pitcher workloads. I’m thinking 25 starts and 300 AB’s?

That’s my guess.
   4. Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: February 12, 2018 at 11:04 AM (#5623451)
Thanks. That seems like probably the best way to handle him in order to maximize his value - presuming, of course, that his skills translate from NPB to MLB as well as most people expect.
   5. Rally Posted: February 12, 2018 at 11:10 AM (#5623458)
When you're starting outfield is Upton, Trout, and Calhoun there isn't much temptation to ask Ohtani to play OF.

If he were on the team last year I would have been very tempted to try him out there, especially before the Upton trade and while Trout was hurt.
   6. JimMusComp likes Billy Eppler.... Posted: February 12, 2018 at 11:52 AM (#5623487)
Agreed, Rally. I have a feeling that if an OF'er gets hurt and is slated to miss a decent amount of time we will see him out there 2-3 days a week instead of DH'ing. But here to hoping for good health all around this year - the pitching in particular. If that rotation can stay healthy - or minimize the injuries a bit this team should compete for a wild-card birth.
   7. Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: February 12, 2018 at 12:11 PM (#5623512)
Not only is the Angel outfield packed, it's been years since Ohtani's played the outfield in an actual game. Given the giant hole that the Angels have had at 1B/DH, anything Ohtani can do to help with that is going to be a huge plus. The Angels shouldn't try and get too creative with him. Nippon built a fine schedule for him, and he took them to the championship. The Angels just have to take that same routine and bring it to Anaheim.
   8. PreservedFish Posted: February 12, 2018 at 12:51 PM (#5623558)
Yes. Starting pitcher who DH’s 2-3 days a week. They ruled out any OF time for him this year, and are planning a 6-man rotation to ease him into US pitcher workloads. I’m thinking 25 starts and 300 AB’s?

This is so ####### exciting.
   9. Rally Posted: February 12, 2018 at 01:04 PM (#5623576)
I have a feeling that even if an OF misses time they will try not to have him in the outfield, as his Japanese team avoided after his rookie year, just for injury concerns. If you can help it you don't want your pitcher in the position of making 200+ foot throws in games.

If two outfielders are down, the Crobuena platoon is productive, and Pujols shows he has something left, there might be temptation to put him in the outfield. But that's a lot of things that have to break in a particular direction.
   10. Khrushin it bro Posted: February 12, 2018 at 02:26 PM (#5623656)
Pujols in the OF haha.
   11. This is going to be state of the art wall Posted: February 12, 2018 at 08:56 PM (#5623935)
This kid is going to have a lot of haters. Good luck to him. The pressure from his countryman will be above and beyond what any American player faces. Or Latin for that matter. How did Ichiro deal with it?
   12. Tim M Posted: February 13, 2018 at 12:58 AM (#5624002)
Seriously, what do they do w/ Pujols? DH platoon? He's signed thru 2021, that's a whole lot of money for a whole lot of sitting (I know, sunk cost etc, but still).
   13. JAHV Posted: February 13, 2018 at 02:05 AM (#5624011)
Seriously, what do they do w/ Pujols? DH platoon? He's signed thru 2021, that's a whole lot of money for a whole lot of sitting (I know, sunk cost etc, but still).


I think the plan is for Pujols to DH every day Ohtani isn't in the lineup and to get a few games at 1B here or there. Unless he has a late-career surge (and not just a decent dead cat bounce), I would expect Pujols to get a starting catcher's workload of anywhere from 115 - 130 games, with 2/3rds of those coming at DH and the remainder at 1B.
   14. JimMusComp likes Billy Eppler.... Posted: February 13, 2018 at 09:59 AM (#5624101)
I think the plan is for Pujols to DH every day Ohtani isn't in the lineup and to get a few games at 1B here or there. Unless he has a late-career surge (and not just a decent dead cat bounce), I would expect Pujols to get a starting catcher's workload of anywhere from 115 - 130 games, with 2/3rds of those coming at DH and the remainder at 1B.


This is my thought too, as long as he is quasi-productive in the traditional sense (HR/RBI totals). I have a feeling that he might retire a la ARod if he can't hit HR's and knock in runs anymore. He could be doing permanent damage to his legacy with a steep decline. He looked terrible last year. This is supposedly the first season where he had a normal off-season regimen - if he looks toasty this season the end could be near.
   15. Tim M Posted: February 13, 2018 at 11:26 AM (#5624174)
These next 4 years watching Pujols is gonna be a sad sight indeed. An all-time great legend sitting there rotting at top dollar for not one but FOUR more years. Can he possibly turn down the nearly 30M/yr and retire w/ dignity? Can they trade him (plus nearly his entire salary) to a team that "needs" a DH?
   16. Nasty Nate Posted: February 13, 2018 at 12:09 PM (#5624222)
They're not going to waste a roster spot on him if he continues to be that bad. They will release him.
   17. The Yankee Clapper Posted: February 13, 2018 at 01:57 PM (#5624337)
Can he possibly turn down the nearly 30M/yr and retire w/ dignity? Can they trade him (plus nearly his entire salary) to a team that "needs" a DH?

Why is that on Pujols rather than the Angels? If he's that bad, why won't the team accept that they made a bad deal on the back end of the contract, cut him a check, and thank him for his service? If the Angels don't value his roster spot, why should Albert?
   18. dlf Posted: February 13, 2018 at 02:06 PM (#5624343)
Why is that on Pujols rather than the Angels? If he's that bad, why won't the team accept that they made a bad deal on the back end of the contract, cut him a check, and thank him for his service? If the Angels don't value his roster spot, why should Albert?


Agreed. I figure that as long as Pujols is giving max effort to play, train, rehab, etc., his declining performance was a known risk that the parties included implicitly in the contract. Setting aside the legal matter, I have less sympathy for the Angels for having guessed incorrectly on the value of future performance than I do for, as an example, Evan Longoria having guessed wrong in the other direction, but in neither case do I think the burden should be on one party to walk away from a beneficial deal.


He could be doing permanent damage to his legacy with a steep decline.


I've never understood this. He did what he did and those records are in the books. What he does in the future on the field doesn't take anything away. Maybe a Pete Rose or OJ Simpson second act should affect even the on-field legacy, but just becoming a (below?) replacement player doesn't, in my mind, change his legacy as a top 5 1B in the history of the game.
   19. The Good Face Posted: February 13, 2018 at 02:25 PM (#5624358)
Why is that on Pujols rather than the Angels? If he's that bad, why won't the team accept that they made a bad deal on the back end of the contract, cut him a check, and thank him for his service? If the Angels don't value his roster spot, why should Albert?

Agreed. I figure that as long as Pujols is giving max effort to play, train, rehab, etc., his declining performance was a known risk that the parties included implicitly in the contract. Setting aside the legal matter, I have less sympathy for the Angels for having guessed incorrectly on the value of future performance than I do for, as an example, Evan Longoria having guessed wrong in the other direction, but in neither case do I think the burden should be on one party to walk away from a beneficial deal.


Thirded. The deal was for Pujols to play x years of baseball for y amounts of money. As long as he's willing to show up and play baseball (and do the ancillary things associated with playing MLB baseball) he deserves every penny, regardless of how lousy he plays.

He could be doing permanent damage to his legacy with a steep decline.

I've never understood this. He did what he did and those records are in the books. What he does in the future on the field doesn't take anything away. Maybe a Pete Rose or OJ Simpson second act should affect even the on-field legacy, but just becoming a (below?) replacement player doesn't, in my mind, change his legacy as a top 5 1B in the history of the game.


It makes sense to me. Pro athletes tend to be prideful men, and they don't like to look bad or embarrass themselves (or be embarrassed by their peers). I could easily see how a man who used to be historically great at his profession might voluntarily step down rather than have tens of millions of people watch him perform at an immensely diminished level.
   20. Rally Posted: February 13, 2018 at 02:58 PM (#5624403)
It would be a record buyout but the Angels would not be strangers to the concept. They bought out 2 years of Matthews Jr., 2 years of Vernon Wells, and 3 years of Hamilton. All of these involved trades with the Angels paying about 90% of the cost.

Pujols has a full no-trade, and it's unlikely anybody would want him now. I've made my prediction before, but here it is again. When the time comes, it will be called a medical retirement to allow Pujols to save face. He'll still get all his guaranteed money. The Angels will replace him with a batter who is not likely to be thrown out on a ground ball fielded 50 feet beyond the normal shortstop position.
   21. JimMusComp likes Billy Eppler.... Posted: February 13, 2018 at 05:06 PM (#5624544)
He could be doing permanent damage to his legacy with a steep decline.


I've never understood this. He did what he did and those records are in the books. What he does in the future on the field doesn't take anything away. Maybe a Pete Rose or OJ Simpson second act should affect even the on-field legacy, but just becoming a (below?) replacement player doesn't, in my mind, change his legacy as a top 5 1B in the history of the game.


Let me rephrase - the lasting memory I will have of him will be the final years of ineptitude. My FIRST recollections will be the most recent. That's partly because I am an Angel fan, and didn't see many of his games in STL. Of course, his place in history is safe - but in the eyes and minds of those who saw his whole career, it isn't as cut and dry.

Unless you root for the Cards.
   22. Rally Posted: February 13, 2018 at 05:11 PM (#5624547)
change his legacy as a top 5 1B in the history of the game.


If this is how he's viewed, his legacy has already taken a hit. A few years ago I thought he was a slam dunk top 2 1B.
   23. Tim M Posted: February 13, 2018 at 07:46 PM (#5624618)
Agree with #22, I'd have put him right behind Gehrig. Now maybe not. All his career rates and OPS+ go down, in fact his bWAR dropped a speck below 100 last year and isn't likely to return. Also the youngsters' memory of him.. for me, the closest example is Kareem. Top-10 (easily) player of all time, all I remember is an old guy walking up the court and not doing a whole lot when he finally got there.

It gets even worse w/ Ohtani there, because everyone will want to see the new phenom instead, every (non-Ohtani start) AB will be a disappointment. Here's rooting for a "medical release" or amicable trade for a an all-time great & classy player.

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