The Rockies, technically, are just as likely as any other team to land NPB two-way star Shohei Ohtani. Ohtani’s an international free agent under 25, so he has compensation limits similar to drafted amateurs. He’s not a free agent like Masahiro Tanaka was. That means each team has limited resources to sign him, determined by how much money they have left from their international free agent bonus pool money. At most, Ohtani will get a bonus that approximates an amateur drafted around 20th overall. He’ll then begin playing making league minimum. So, theoretically, the Rockies don’t have to compete with teams offering Ohtani $200 million.
There’s a problem though. The Rockies only have about $10,000 left in international bonus pool money, according to Jeff Long of Baseball Prospectus. The teams who have the most have just over $3 million. It’s tough to compete when the figure the Rockies can offer can include all the zeros without it feeling egregious.
But maybe the Rockies can get creative with that $10,000? Maybe the Rockies can guarantee league minimum, sell Ohtani on the short porch in right field (which would favor him as a lefty hitter), pretend like pitching at Coors Field is just like pitching anywhere else, tell him that playing in the National League is a good idea, and use the 10K creatively to sweeten the pot?
It wouldn’t be easy. $10,000 isn’t even enough for a reasonable down payment on a downtown Denver loft. It would have to be used for something Ohtani wouldn’t just do himself, and we have to remember that, comparatively, it’s really not that much money. Perhaps it can be used to get him a lifetime supply of burritos from Illegal Pete’s? Maybe it’s something he wouldn’t think to do himself, and it can also endear him to Denver at the same time?
What are your ideas? How would you use $10,000 to entice Shohei Ohtani to entertain Denver as a landing spot?