Angels trade prospect to get more money to pursue Shohei Ohtani

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It's easy to make the connection between tonight's deal and the Mariners' interest in Ohtani.

The teams announced the deals Wednesday night. But the Mariners general manager's actions speak volumes about their dogged pursuit of the most coveted free agent of the offseason. The Twins had $3.2 million in their global pool, but Ohtani narrowed the list of teams he was considering to seven finalists, and the Twins were not on the list.

What's more, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reported the Los Angeles Angels traded outfielder Jacob Pearson to the Twins in exchange for money.

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The move paves the way for Los Angeles to increase their financial offer to Shohei Ohtani in an attempt to bring the two-way Japanese star aboard.

Ohtani was put up for bid on December 1 by the Pacific League's Nippon Ham Fighters for the maximum $20 million posting fee and met with the Mariners, Angels, Rangers, San Francisco Giants, Los Angeles Dodgers, San Diego Padres and Chicago Cubs in-person this week. In his first pro season, he hit.236 (30 for 127) with eight doubles, four homers and 26 RBI in 36 games for Short-season Everett. He was selected in the fifth round of the 2017 draft out of Long Beach State and signed for a $300,000 bonus.

The 23-year-old is limited to a minor league contract because of restrictions imposed by the MLB collective bargaining agreement. Teams had to pay a $20 million posting fee for the rights to negotiate with him. Seattle, Los Angeles and Texas are among seven teams believed to be in the running for Ohtani. The Rangers, Cubs and Padres also met with Ohtani on Tuesday. They were not among the teams invited to meet with Ohtani, so they didn't have as much use for the extra money. Due to his age, Ohtani can only sign a minor league contract and is subject to the global bonus pool.

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