We all know that the Shohei Otani bidding this offseason is going to be quite odd, to say the least. Ohtani (correct spelling) is forgoing a likely 9-figure contract if he simply remained in Japan for two more seasons and moved to the “foreign professional” market. Instead, teams are restricted to their bonus pool for the international free agent market.
So, Ohtani is not coming for money, but what is he coming for? Well, that’s the rub. Ohtani’s representatives sent a note this weekend with certain questions that they wanted answered. Instead, those of us bidding on Ohtani in this exercise were bidding on Ohtani blind.
To sell Ohtani on Minnesota, the big selling point is the upfront money that the Twins would have, but Minneapolis would also offer a tremendous landing spot for Ohtani in the cultural community that is offered in the Twin Cities area.
The Twin Cities has an incredible theater scene, one of the best in the entire country (many put only New York City above it, and by pay to actors, the comparison holds true), a vibrant live music scene that owes plenty to Prince’s push in the 80s and 90s, but now thrives in downtown Minneapolis and throughout the Twin Cities area in all genres of music, and features plenty of tremendous art galleries and museums in the metro area as well.
The Twin Cities also feature a fast-rising Asian population that may not eclipse 1/4 of the population of the city, but continues to jump by leaps and bounds. In the 2010 census, the state saw a rise of over 50% in Asian residents from the 2000 census, and the numbers are likely going to be as high or even higher in 2020.
The issue is, none of these factors were allowed to be presented. None of them were asked for. Then a decision was made, not on the “draw from a hat” that was going to be part of things at one point, but instead Seattle was given Ohtani due to soft factors that certainly would have been equal to or substandard to the Twins pitch when money was figured in, but without the opportunity to know how the decision was made, a proper pitch wasn’t able to be made.
So, Ohtani was lost, what about free agency?