With the sweepstakes for Japanese superstar Shohei Otani heating up, all interested teams had to submit a report to Otani and his agent
outlining the reasons Otani should join their organization. The Washington Nationals are not one of the favorites to land Otani, but could develop as strong a pitch for him as any team in baseball. Here’s why:
- Regular Season Success- The Nationals have qualified for the playoffs in 6 consecutive years and won the NL East 4 of those years. Such divisional dominance could be attractive to Otani if he wants to play for a perennial World Series contender.
- New Management- The recent hiring of new manager Dave Martinez by the Nationals could be an underrated component of the Nats’ pitch to Otani. Martinez is a young, personable manager. He has developed strong relationships with his former players and has already started to bond with current Nationals’ stars.
- Starpower- The Nationals have some of the brightest stars in all of baseball. Bryce Harper, Max Scherzer, Daniel Murphy, and Stephen Strasburg have MVPs, Cy Youngs, and postseason success attached to their names. Playing on a team with other stars will help to ease the pressure on Otani at the same time it will attract extensive media coverage in the USA and abroad.
- Washington DC- Otani would likely feel comfortable in the nation’s capital, the country’s most international city with pronounced cultural diversity. The presence of the Japanese Embassy will allow Otani to feel more connected with his homeland.
No one knows for sure what Otani is looking for in a team. However, a Nationals’ pitch combining on-field and player success along with the benefits of Washington D.C. is as strong as any.
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