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Some teams are complaining about Shohei Ohtani’s decision-making process

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Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic has a column today (subscription only) in which he reports that certain team officials speculate that Shohei Ohtani’s decision about which team to sign with has already been made but that he made everyone jump through hoops anyway. They’re frustrated about the waste of time and all of that. Rosenthal makes a reference to the process as “eyewash,” which is a term baseball people use to describe phony effort aimed at making someone think you’re doing all the necessary work when you really aren’t. One executive suggested that teams were being “played.”

Their reasoning: Ohtani quickly eliminated 23 teams, and all east coast teams, and set meetings with the seven finalists super quickly. The anonymous team executives are wondering why they put so much time into responding to his agents’ requests — they made teams fill out a questionnaire about how they’d use Ohtani — if he had a small group of teams in mind anyway. They’re suggesting that the whole process is eyewash to make it appear as if he hadn’t already chosen a team.

To which I say: who friggin’ cares?

Ohtani appears to be a special talent. A special talent who will be paid less than a middle reliever for the next three years at least because the owners and the union threw his bargaining power under a bus in the last CBA. That they’re now moaning about having had to answer some questions from him as he decides where to go is pretty rich. And that’s before you look around and realize that teams routinely show disingenuous interest in players for their own purposes, be it to make other teams pay a higher price or to leverage players they really want. And that they freely use all of their power and leverage to keep costs down and control players, especially pre-arb players.

These clubs should be thankful they even had a remote chance at picking up a young, front-line starter who can hit homers for less than the Cubs are paying Justin Wilson. For them to take aim at his decision making process as disingenuous is beyond petty.

After reading this I hope Ohtani picks his team soon and holds a press conference in which he says “I knew I was coming here all along. I just wanted to make you puppets dance. Dance, puppets, dance!” After which he takes all of the answered questionnaires from the losing team and blows his nose with ’em.

Back in reality, Ohtani has completed interviews with representatives from the seven finalists and now the ball is in his court to make a decision. He has until December 22nd to do so, though one expects he’ll do it more quickly than that.

Dodgers acquire Manny Machado from Orioles for five minor leaguers

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The Orioles and Dodgers finally completed the trade involving Manny Machado, ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reports. The Orioles will receive five prospects from the Dodgers: Yusniel Diaz, Dean Kremer, Zach Pop, Rylan Bannon, and Breyvic Valera.

Machado, 26, is in the final year of his contract, so this is currently a rental for the first-place Dodgers. Machado ended the first half batting .315/.387/.575 with 24 home runs, 65 RBI, 48 runs scored, and eight stolen bases in 413 plate appearances. In Los Angeles, he will handle shortstop, allowing Chris Taylor to move over to second base.

MLB Pipeline rated Diaz as the Dodgers’ No. 4 prospect and No. 84 across baseball. Kremer was No. 27 in the Dodgers’ system and Bannon was No. 28.

Diaz, 21, is considered the centerpiece of the trade. The outfielder hit .314/.428/.477 with 20 extra-base hits, 30 RBI, and 36 runs scored in 264 plate appearances at Double-A Tulsa this season.

Kremer, 22, was selected by the Dodgers in the 14th round of the 2016 draft. He spent most of his season with High-A Rancho Cucamonga before earning a promotion to Tulsa earlier this month. Overall, in 17 starts, the right-hander posted a 3.03 ERA with a 125/29 K/BB ratio in 86 innings.

Pop, 21, was selected by the Dodgers in the seventh round of the 2017 draft. He has spent his season between Rancho Cucamonga and Single-A Great Lakes. Overall, he compiled a 1.04 ERA with 47 strikeouts and 13 walks in 43 1/3 innings of relief.

Bannon, 22, was selected by the Dodgers in the eighth round of the 2017 draft. With Rancho Cucamonga this season, the infielder batted .296/.402/.559 with 20 home runs and 61 RBI in 403 PA.

Valera, 26, has appeared in 20 games at the major league level for the Dodgers this season, batting a meager .172 with a .445 OPS in 34 PA. Valera has versatility, having played second base, third base, and corner outfield this year while also having experience in center field, shortstop, and first base.