If the Mariners or Angels end up landing Japanese star Shohei Ohtani, they can thank the Twins.
The Twins swung deals with both clubs Wednesday, giving each $1 million in international bonus cap money in exchange for a prospect.
The Twins got catcher David Banuelos from Seattle and outfielder Jacob Pearson from the Angels.
Banuelos, 21, was Seattle’s fifth-round pick in June out of Long Beach State. He was listed as Seattle’s 10th-best prospect by MLB.com. He was considered one of the best defensive catchers in the draft and has a strong arm. His plate discipline suggests he can be a reliable on-base percentage hitter. He played at Class A Everett after signing, batting .236 four home runs and 26 RBI in 36 games.
Pearson, 19, was selected by the Angels in the third round of the June draft from West Monroe (La.) High School. A power-speed prospect, Pearson signed with the Angels for $1 million, buying him out of his commitment to LSU. He batted .226 with 13 RBI in 40 games for the Angels’ Arizona League team for rookies with five stolen bases and 15 walks. He’s listed as the Angels’ fifth-best prospect by MLB.com.
I would love to thank the Angels for everything. I am Offically a Twin and cannot be more excited!! pic.twitter.com/sjSSM3w6qT— Jacob Pearson (@j_pearson2) December 7, 2017
The Twins were one of several teams who were willing to pay the $20 million posting fee for the rights to negotiate with Ohtani, 23, who wants to pitch and hit in the majors. Ohtani’s agents had each club fill out a questionnaire, explaining how they would use him. Seven teams — the Angels, Mariners, Padres, Dodgers, Giants, Rangers and Cubs — made it past that stage. The Twins were told Sunday evening they were out of the running, but officials immediately indicated their willingness to deal some of their $3.2 million in international bonus money — the third most of any club — in exchange for players.
The Angels, with about $150,000 in bonus money, have made two deals in less than a week to add $2.2 million more. They received $1.2 million on Friday in a deal with the Braves.
Once Ohtani picks a team, that team can only sign him to a minor league deal, but he would make millions in endorsements.
The Twins ended up with $3.25 million in international bonus money when they voided the contract of Jelfry Marte, a 16-year-old shortstop from the Dominican Republic. Marte had vision problems during his physical. He remains a free agent.