Mariners, Angels Make Trades to Free Up International Money for Shohei Ohtani

Mariners, Angels Make Trades to Free Up International Money for Shohei Ohtani

Banuelos immediately becomes the top catching prospect in the Twins' system, ahead of 2016 second-rounder Ben Rortvedt and projected 2018 backup Mitch Garver, their minor league player of the year. Shortly thereafter, the Angels sent outfield prospect Jacob Pearson to the Twins, also for $1 million in worldwide slot money.

Teams interested in signing Ohtani are limited to the amount they have available in their global bonus pools.

Given that widening gap, it seems likely that the Mariners, Angels and Rangers are the front-runners for Ohtani, although the Padres are thought to be strong contenders despite their bonus limitations.

- They are trying to go the extra mile: One theory is Ohtani's representation has informed the teams that he really does like what they have to offer and that they are the two finalists, but could they possibly do a little something extra to sweeten the pot?

Pearson was a third-round pick in 2017 by the Angels out of high school in Louisiana, and in his professional debut hit.226/.302/.284 in 40 games in the Arizona Rookie League. Considering the Twins had no chance of acquiring Shohei Ohtani, it's fair to say they did very well in both trades.

Ohtani's representatives told the Twins on Sunday he would not sign with Minnesota. That's completely separate from the money Ohtani will make. There are seven teams in the running - Texas, San Diego, the Chicago Cubs, the Angels, the Mariners, the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco. His elite throwing arm and excellent blocking skills earned him a spot on the NorthWest League's all-star team and made him one of the Mariners better prospects.

The Twins still have around $1.25 million left from their original bonus pool, which maxed out at $5.75 million and included $500,000 acquired from the Washington Nationals in a trade for all-star closer Brandon Kintzler. But the Mariners general manager's actions speak volumes about their dogged pursuit of the most coveted free agent of the offseason.