The OC Register plans to “mob” the Angels home opener

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We’re getting to a point in baseball media where some teams barely have any local coverage. There’s a beat guy or two, but press boxes that once teemed with scribes are often empty due to consolidation, newspapers cutting back and the migration of coverage to the internet, where uncredentialed writers ply their trade.

But one newspaper is going to change that. At least for one day. It’s the OC Register, which plans on “mobbing” the Angels’ home opener with what sounds like a barftastic multimedia overload:

On April 6, the Orange County Register will cover the Angels’ Opening Day in Anaheim like no news organization has ever covered a baseball team. We will have more than 100 writers, editors, bloggers, photographers, videographers, graphic artists, designers, advertising representatives, marketing staff members and FANS working together to contribute to the Angels coverage for desktop web, mobile devices, ipad and in print that day (and throughout that weekend) …

… For one 24-hour period beginning April 6, we will unveil (just wait until you see the homepage at OCRegister.com) a massive number of Angels stories, blog posts, tweets, Facebook status updates, photographs and videos produced by journalists who usually cover business, rock n roll, television, movies, cities, police, trends, plastic surgery, celebrity gossip, social issues, Latino issues, travel, human interest, OC Moms, food, theater and, of course, sports … The News Mob is coming.

I can’t wait to hear what the “OC Moms” and plastic surgery writers have to contribute.

OK, despite calling it “barftastic” — it was the first word that came to mind — this actually sounds kind of fun.  It’s the sort of thing that would become overwhelming pretty quickly, but one day of reading and hearing baseball coverage from people who don’t cover baseball is bound to spin out a couple of interesting nuggets.  And would probably help create some interest among those who wouldn’t normally think too much about baseball.

Seattle Mariners to make a “full-court press” for Shohei Ohtani

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Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto said in a team-sponsored podcast the other day that the M’s will make a “full-court press” for Shohei Ohtani. To that end, Dipoto said that the M’s would be willing to let the two-way star to pitch and to hit, which is something Ohtani is interested in doing in the United States. Not all clubs are likely to let him do this, with most likely seeing him as a starting pitcher only.

Ohtani, who is expected to be posted by his Japanese team, the Nippon Ham Fighters, possibly as early as today, can sign with anyone he wants. He is, however, subject to the international bonus pool caps, so the bids on him will be somewhat limited. The Texas Rangers and New York Yankees have the most money available: $3.535 million for the Rangers and $3.5 million for the Yankees. The Twins ($3.245 million), Pirates ($2.266 million), Marlins ($1.74 million) and Mariners ($1.57 million) are the only other teams with more than $1 million left. Twelve teams — including the Dodgers, Cubs, Cardinals and Astros — are limited to a maximum of $300,000, having met or exceeded their caps for this signing period already.

Ohtani, however, is said to be less motivated by money than he is by finding the right situation. While a lot of guys say that, the fact that Ohtani is coming over to the U.S. now, when his financial prospects are limited, as opposed to waiting for two years when he is not subject to the bonus caps and could sign for nine figures, suggests that he is telling the truth. As such, a team like the Mariners that is willing to allow him to hit and pitch could make up for the couple of million less they have in bonus money to spend.

As for how that might work logistically, Dipoto said that the team would be willing to play DH Nelson Cruz a few days in the outfield to accommodate Ohtani, allowing him to DH on the days he’s not pitching. That might be . . . interesting to see, but given how badly the Mariners could use a good starting pitcher, they have an incentive to be creative.

Ohtani, 23, suffered some injuries in 2017, limiting him to just five starts and 65 games as a hitter. In 2016, however, he hit .289/.356/.547 with 22 homers in 342 at-bats and went 11-3 with a 3.24 ERA, and a K/BB ratio of 146/51 in 133.1 innings as a starter.

Five clubs have more money to spend on Ohtani than the Mariners do. None of those teams are on the west coast, which some Asian players have said in the past they preferred due to faster travel back home. The Mariners, owned for a long time by a Japanese company which still retains a minority interest in the club, and long the home for high-profile Japanese players such as Ichiro and Hisashi Iwakuma, likely have a better media and marketing reach in Japan than most other teams as well, which might be a factor in his decision making process. Is all that enough to sway Ohtani?

We’ll find out over the next couple of weeks.