The Seattle Mariners and Los Angeles Angels each have acquired $1 million in worldwide bonus pool money from the Minnesota Twins, aiding their pursuit of Japanese outfielder and pitcher Shohei Ohtani.
Money doesn't seem to be the primary concern for Ohtani, given that the 23-year-old could have stayed in Japan and waited two more years until he was an unrestricted global free agent and made considerably more money.
Only the Texas Rangers can offer the 23-year-old two-way phenom more money with $3.535 million available in their worldwide bonus pool. Going to the Twins will be catching prospect David Banuelos. Seattle, Los Angeles and Texas are among seven teams believed to be in the running for Ohtani.
It is unconfirmed, but the Angels nearly certainly made this deal in order to be able to offer Japanese superstar Shohei Ohtani more money. The catcher, who turned 21 in October, hit.236/.331/.394 with four home runs and eight doubles in 36 games for Class-A Everett in the Northwest League.
Pearson was Los Angeles' third-round selection this year.
Banuelos was drafted in the fifth round out of Long Beach State. He played 40 games for the Rookie League AZL Angels last season, hitting.226.
Pearson, rated the Angels' No. 5 prospect by MLB.com, went nine picks after fellow LSU signee Blayne Enlow, a promising high school right-hander the Twins signed for $2 million. The team that lands him can sign him to a minor league deal. The other four contending teams - the Cubs, Padres, Giants and Dodgers - are all capped at $300,000 that they can offer.
With both the Mariners and Angels making these trades, both appear confident they are close enough to landing Ohtani that adding an extra $1 million to his signing bonus might sway his decision. Because Ohtani is under 25 he is subject to worldwide spending limits, which severely limits his earning power on the free market.