But the Angels' newest global star remains a viable option as both as a designated hitter as well as an important new part of the Angels' pitching rotation.
The Japanese two-way star announced Friday that he will sign with the Los Angeles Angels, ending a sweepstakes in a surprising destination.
The cost to get Ohtani was minimal, with the Angels limited to paying him a $2.315 million bonus by worldwide signing restrictions.
In Ohtani, 23, the Angels get a player unlike one ever seen in modern baseball.
In the months leading up being posted by his Japanese team, Ohtani was widely expected to sign with a high-profile team like the New York Yankees or Dodgers or a team with a rich history of Japanese players like the Seattle Mariners.
Ohtani was so coveted because he has the talent to be a top-of-the-rotation starter, as well as the potential to be a major league power hitter. Ohtani already has drawn numerous comparisons to Babe Ruth, who excelled as a hitter and a pitcher early in his Hall of Fame career.
Ohtani, who bats left-handed and throws with his right-handed, played a shortened 2017 after recovering from an ankle injury that occurred at the end of 2016, an injury that also caused him to miss this year's World Baseball Classic in March.
According to his agents at CAA, Ohtani has made a decision to play for the Los Angeles Angels.
The Angels will have to pay the $20 million posting fee to Ohtani's previous club, the Nippon Ham Fighters, but Ohtani won't be paid a huge salary. After using most of their allotment for worldwide players, the Angels had to make two trades in the past 10 days to acquire another $2.21 million worth of spending space.
A fourth-round pick by Colorado in 2004, Iannetta spent parts of six seasons with the team before being traded to the Los Angeles Angels on November 30, 2011, for pitcher Tyler Chatwood.
Landing Ohtani is another big step towards returning to relevance for the Angels, who have only made the playoffs once in Mike Trout's seven-year career and have been a sub-.500 team in three of the last five seasons. While he has occasionally struggled with control, Ohtani is widely thought to be a surefire big-league pitching prospect. He hit.332 in 65 games with eight homers and 31 RBIs.
Ohtani will likely serve as DH between starts, pushing almost 38-year-old Albert Pujols to resume playing the field or take on a part-time role. He also was 10-4 with a 1.86 ERA.