In the first stage of what will be an intriguing process to try and sign Shohei Ohtani, MLB clubs were asked to provide a written response to a slew of questions regarding the overall fit of the two-way Japanese star into their organization.
Here is what the Yankees' introductory pitch -- to what would certainly be an incredibly detailed presentation -- might resemble.
Dear Mr. Ohtani,
We are pleased to lay out the groundwork to our plans to partner with you in your quest to translate your success in Nippon Professional Baseball and further elevate your development in Major League Baseball as a member of the New York Yankees organization.
We view your unique skillset as one which can fit squarely into our plans to build a solid foundation of young players approaching their prime seasons. While we do not want to make assumptions concerning your personal desires as a ballplayer, we believe we can accommodate any of the potential building blocks necessary to succeed singularly as a pitcher or a positional player or as a two-way player.
In reviewing your abilities as a hitter, we have noted your effortless swing path and your ability to drive the ball to all fields. While the short porch in right field may look enticing, we would continue to hone your ability to hit to the opposite field in an effort to maintain your current mechanics.
As a pitcher, we project you to be a top of the rotation starter in the near future, especially if we can manage your usage as the season progresses. As you're aware, the MLB season is a bit longer and somewhat more demanding than in NPB in terms of travel, so this will be a significant component in regard to your continued development. We have plenty of experience with the differences in usage patterns between the two leagues regarding starting pitchers.
Should you decide you would like to continue to hit and pitch, our team being situated in the American League provides an avenue to maintain both aspects of the game. As a member of the rotation, we would advise not playing in the field on a regular basis. However, the American League's designated hitter would allow us to place you in the lineup two times within a five-man rotation cycle and allows for complete rest on the day before and the day after a start on the mound. Again, we want to be certain to not physically wear you down especially in the early stages of your MLB career. As the season progresses, we can certainly make adjustments based on results and your input.
While we will have the utmost concern with your feelings as a budding player, we understand that the transition from Japan to the United States will be daunting as well. Fortunately, the team and its proximity to Manhattan and the surrounding New York City suburbs can offer several benefits to this facet of your transformation. We also have a wealth of experience in this matter and former players to draw advice from.
As you are certainly well aware, the Yankees have employed four of Japan's most successful baseball players in Hiroki Kuroda, Hideki Matsui, Ichiro Suzuki, and Masahiro Tanaka. Each player would be able to provide important insights concerning the livelihood of a Yankees ballplayer and the effects of being a part of the organization.
New York City encompasses the limelight of the largest city in the United States and all the international flavors it has to offer. Should you wish, you would be able to begin a personal brand with New York City as your backdrop. There is no better place to market yourself. While New York City provides the hustle and bustle, its suburbs allow for a dramatic shift in living experiences with many small, quiet towns within a reasonable distance of Yankee Stadium.
In the clubhouse, Masahiro will be someone you can lean on from the beginning of your time in pinstripes. Masahiro has enjoyed his time with the Yankees and believes in the future path to the point he decided to stay with us instead of opting out of his contract. Masahiro understands and can assist you with the demands from the media, the fans and the extra requirements outside of the game, such as fundraisers and community efforts close to the Yankees' hearts, including the wildly successful HOPE Week.
We will of course provide you with a dedicated translator because this person will be the conduit to our communication efforts going forward. We want this individual to be devoted to relaying not only your exact thoughts to the team's coaches, your teammates and personnel, but also to the media. Should you desire to advance your knowledge of the English language we can arrange this for you.
If you sign with the Yankees, you'll be impressed with the extra expense that we put into the building and maintenance of our facilities at all minor league levels as well as at Yankee Stadium. From the bottom up, the Yankees employ the top doctors, trainers, health advisors and front office personnel in the game. Each facet is completely in sync with the other and flows to the new coaching staff as we work congruently to aid all of our players' development.
We can tout the tremendous history of the organization -- 40 pennants and 27 World Series championships -- but our recent performance stands out. Over the last three decades, teams have risen and fallen from the top and bottom of the league standings, while the Yankees have remained remarkably consistent. We have recorded 25 straight winning seasons, which included 19 postseason berths, seven pennants, and five World Series titles. We want more rings.
Our organization's recent success has come in part from an effort to build a viable farm system -- one that has churned out exceptional talent in recent seasons. Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez, and Luis Severino are just a few players who have worked their way through the Yankees farm system and sprung to stardom as big leaguers. Like yourself, each is at the early stages of their careers, which would make for an exciting core as the Yankees strive for their 28th World Series title (and more).
We have not rushed our young stars and have not pressured them by outsized expectations before they are able to produce them. In that same fashion, we will be honest and forthcoming about your progression. We will communicate to you ways in which you can continue to better your craft(s). If the process requires a stay in the minor leagues, we will work very closely with you and your agents on how the timing may play out so that there are no surprises, and more importantly, no delays in your development.
If there is one thing we would like you to take away from the forthcoming presentation, it is that the Yankees want you be become a part of its history. At the heart of the Yankees organization is the rich tradition of winning, and we are poised to continue that in grand fashion with you firmly placed within its core.
The New York Yankees