The Los Angeles Angels have acquired $1 million in international slot money in a deal with the Minnesota Twins, sending 2017 third-round pick Jacob Pearson back in exchange. The Seattle Mariners made a similar deal with the Twins in order to acquire international slot money of their own on Wednesday night.
The move paves the way for Los Angeles to increase their financial offer to Shohei Ohtani in an attempt to bring the two-way Japanese star aboard. The Angels will have to use their international pool money in order to sign Ohtani.
Ohtani’s best season came in 2016 when he went 10-4 with a 1.86 ERA across 20 starts. As a batter, he posted a .322 average to go along with 22 home runs and 67 RBI, all of which he did as a 21-year-old.
He was limited by injuries last season, especially on the mound, but hit .332 across 65 games.
Pearson is a 19-year-old left-handed hitting outfielder that was snagged by Los Angeles in the third round out of West Monroe, La. He went on to appear in 40 games of rookie ball with the franchise, batting .226/.302/.284 with 13 RBI and five stolen bases, splitting time between left and center field.
Ohtani has begun to dwindle his list down to a handful of suitors, which reportedly includes primarily West Coast franchises. The lure of playing for the Angels comes from not only playing in Los Angeles, but the ability to play alongside All-Star Mike Trout and the possibility of serving as the designated hitter when not pitching. Ohtani has expressed a desire to both hit and pitch upon his arrival in the major leagues.