Some tricky language in the five-year, $110 million deal and a final physical held up the signing since it was first reported Feb. 19. Martinez arrived at Boston’s spring training facility last Wednesday, so the wait for an official announcement had Boston fans biting their fingernails hoping the exam came back clean.
That’s what Ohtani, now 23, wants to know, too. And that burning desire is part of what makes Ohtani’s arrival in North America so damn interesting. This Japanese superstar could have landed a contract north of $200 million if he had waited two years to come over as a full-fledged free agent — by MLB’s current CBA, all international players under the age of 25 are considered amateurs, which means they’re only eligible for that specific, very restricted, bonus pool available to teams — but he wants to measure himself against the best of the best right damn now.
So instead of waiting for a deal worth $200 million, he chose to play for the Angels for the $2.315 million signing bonus the club had left in their international pool. Think about that. The competitive spirit was so strong in this athlete that he essentially threw away a couple hundred million so he could test his skills against elite competition.
“It’s definitely one of the coolest things I’ve ever done,” Wilson said of putting on his No. 73 jersey before takings swings in the same group as big bats like Giancarlo Stanton, Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez and Greg Bird.
“Ever since I was a young kid I always dreamed to be a Yankee,” he said. “I always watched them. My favorite player was Derek Jeter growing up, watching him, his professionalism and how he played.”
While Yankees manager Aaron Boone said Wilson won’t be play in any games, Wilson insists his spring training participation is not a stunt.
“If you really know me, baseball’s been part of my blood,” Wilson said. “It’s been a part of who I am and where I’ve come from and what I’ve done. When you see me make plays on the football field, a lot of that’s a direct correlation to baseball.”