Rangers: This is the best way to sign Shohei Ohtani to Texas

TOKYO, JAPAN - NOVEMBER 13: Pinch hitter Shohei Ohtani
TOKYO, JAPAN - NOVEMBER 13: Pinch hitter Shohei Ohtani /

This offseason, Japanese phenom, Shohei Ohtanti, tops most teams’ wish lists, but doing this one thing could push the Rangers to the top of his list.

Shohei Ohtani has been on the Texas Rangers radar for years. The best player to come out of Japan since Yu Darvish appears to be every bit the pitcher Yu Darvish is plus a possible All-Star as a hitter. The two-way skill has likened the pending import to none other than Babe Ruth.

But in a day and age in which players specialize rather than diversify, many scouts and front offices are skeptical of using the 23-year old in a dual purpose capacity. Promising to do so could put a team like the Texas Rangers above their counterparts in the courtship of Shohei Ohtani.

Money doesn’t immediately matter

Every club is severely handcuffed in what they can offer Shohei Ohtani. The posting process and international signing bonus rules limit what MLB clubs can pay. While the Texas Rangers have positioned themselves to be able to pay more than their competition, it’s a nominal amount considering the financial expectations Ohtani has in his future.

The best chance a club has at luring Ohtani is essentially promising him major league opportunities at the plate and the mound.

As far as money is concerned,  Ohtani will likely want to settle somewhere based on long-term financial gains rather than the initial contract offer.

Some have speculated a club could sign him to the restricted amount, with a wink and handshake promising a large extension in the very near future.

While that’s not beyond the realm of possibility, it would violate the integrity of the rules and technically be punishable and voidable by MLB.

Keep in mind, if we all know this outside the lines action is a possibility, so does MLB and you can bet they’ve talked to everyone involved that they will be watching for such nefarious behavior.

We need Rangers fans! Apply here to join our writing team!

2- way promise

While the Ohtani camp has been largely quiet the months leading up to his decision, it is widely known Ohtani would prefer to be both a pitcher and a hitter at the major league level. Dropping one to focus on the other is not a desirable career path and any club that asks him to so will likely drop down a notch on Ohtani’s list.

Clubs that think along these lines will verbally take a “let’s see how it goes” stance as to not scare Ohtani away. It will be up to Ohtani to decipher which clubs are being sincere and which are not. The best chance a club has at luring Ohtani is essentially promising him major league opportunities at the plate and the mound.

More from Texas Rangers

The loser advantage

The Rangers, not considered to be contenders these next couple of seasons, could believably commit to such opportunities because they can absorb the growing pains without ruining a promising season.

Consider this: Ohtani may want to go to a winner but winners will inevitably have less patience for a player stretched thin and struggling.

That’s why being a below-average team like the Rangers makes sense for the young star. He could develop in the comfortable setting of North Texas and cash in on contract #2 down the road once his skills have been honed.

As of now, only one club has publicly promised 2-way play for Shohei Ohtani (Seattle) but that doesn’t mean clubs haven’t privately guaranteed such a commitment. Heck, the Rangers might have already done so.

Next: How good is Shohei Ohtani? We assess...

The best chance for the Rangers to lure Ohtani isn’t through money or attacking free agency to build a championship roster around him. It’s by committing to develop him in both phases of the game. For a rebuilding team like the Rangers such a promise is believable.