Shohei Ohtani, representatives wrap up round of meetings with seven Major League Baseball clubs

Free agency rumor grade: Angels interested in Carlos Santana

Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports is hearing that Shohei Ohtani's decision "could possibly come by early next week".

Shohei Ohtani has completed a round of meetings with all seven major league clubs in the running to sign the Japanese pitcher-outfielder, US media reported Wednesday.

As part of the pursuit of Japanese two-way star Shohei Ohtani, the Mariners on Wednesday acquired $1 million in global slot money from the Twins. The Mariners surrendered fifth-round college catcher David Banuelos in return-he was the best catcher in their farm system-and the Angels traded third-round outfielder Jacob Pearson, the fifth-best prospect in their system. Unlike Seattle, the Angels had been operating more stealthily in regards to Ohtani until last week, when the club acquired $1.21 million of worldwide money from the Atlanta Braves. Instead, it's clear he wants to play out West given the teams remaining. Given that both teams also have holes at first base and designated hitter, there could be a clear match for Ohtani to both pitch and hit with either of those teams. That additional money gives the Mariners a total of $2.55 million in their bonus pool to offer Ohtani. The Rangers have the most to offer Ohtani-$3.5 million as a maximum bonus, which is still a wildly depressed figure from what he'd receive if he were allowed to come to Major League Baseball as an global professional instead of as an amateur, but if money mattered that much to Ohtani he would have waited to come over as a full-fledged free agent in a couple years. With this development, it's fair to wonder if the American League teams hold a slight advantage, given that the Cubs, Dodgers, Giants and Padres are all capped at $300,000 in worldwide spending money.

All seven Ohtani finalists have met with the Japanese star and we're probably getting close to a decision.

The Angels and Mariners had to abandon caution and take on risk to make these moves; having an advantage in terms of what kind of money they can offer Ohtani is that important.

On Wednesday evening, shortly after holding a conference call with local media in preparation for next week's Major League Baseball Winter Meetings where he would not discuss the Japanese phenom, Dipoto made a trade with the Twins to acquire additional global bonus pool dollars to enhance the possible bonus for Ohtani.

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