Mariners, Angels Make Trades to Free Up International Money for Shohei Ohtani

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistDecember 6, 2017

FILE - In this Nov. 19, 2015, file photo, Japan's starter Shohei Otani pitches against South Korea during the first inning of their semifinal game at the Premier12 world baseball tournament at Tokyo Dome in Tokyo. A person familiar with the decision says Major League Baseball owners on Friday, Dec. 1, 2017, have approved a new posting agreement with their Japanese counterparts in a move that allows bidding to start for coveted pitcher and outfielder Shohei Ohtani.   The person spoke on condition of anonymity because no announcement had been made.  (AP Photo/Toru Takahashi, File)
Toru Takahashi/Associated Press

A couple of American League West teams made moves Wednesday to acquire international slot money while the baseball world waits to see where free agent Shohei Ohtani signs.

The Seattle Mariners announced they traded minor league catcher David Banuelos to the Minnesota Twins in exchange for the international slot money.

What's more, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reported the Los Angeles Angels traded outfielder Jacob Pearson to the Twins in exchange for money. Rosenthal suggested both teams were "clearly adding money for Ohtani," although Pearson previously received a $1 million signing bonus.

Rosenthal noted the Angels received $1 million in additional international slot money as a result of the move.

Acquiring the additional cash is noteworthy, considering AJ Cassavell of MLB.com pointed out the finalists outside of the Mariners and Angels—the San Diego Padres, Chicago Cubs, Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants—can offer Ohtani only $300,000 as a bonus.

Matt Snyder of CBSSports.com noted Ohtani and his representatives met with all seven finalists by the conclusion of Tuesday, suggesting either a choice or a narrowing of the field could be the next step.

Whichever team lands the free agent from Japan will acquire arguably the top prize on the free-agent market. Ohtani figures to be a pitcher with stuff that reaches triple digits on the mound, but he also brings power as a potential designated hitter or outfielder as a two-way player.