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Shohei Otani meets with eight-man contingent of Rangers personnel

FILE - Japan's starter Shohei Otani pitches against South Korea during the first inning of their semifinal game at the Premier12 world baseball tournament at Tokyo Dome in Tokyo on Nov. 19, 2015. (Shizuo Kambayashi / Associated Press)
FILE - Japan's starter Shohei Otani pitches against South Korea during the first inning of their semifinal game at the Premier12 world baseball tournament at Tokyo Dome in Tokyo on Nov. 19, 2015. (Shizuo Kambayashi / Associated Press)

Officials with the Texas Rangers met Tuesday afternoon with Japanese free agent Shohei Otani at his agent’s office in Los Angeles, where a contingent led by co-owner Ray Davis, general manager Jon Daniels and manager Jeff Banister delivered their sales pitch to the two-way star.

A source said that others in the Rangers’ contingent included assistant general manager Josh Boyd, senior director of medical operations Jamie Reed, strength and conditioning coach Jose Vazquez, and Japanese scouts Joe Furukawa and Hajime Watabe.

At stake is landing the prize of the offseason, an affordable mega talent who the Rangers believe can pitch and have success at the plate in the major leagues. They are one of seven finalists, and the source said that the Seattle Mariners, believed by many to be the front-runners, met with Otani in the morning.

The Rangers travel party is geared toward many of the points Otani wanted discussed in the memo he asked all 30 MLB teams to complete.

One of the seven subjects was player development and the training staff, which accounts for the presence of Reed and Vazquez.

Boyd has been traveling to Japan since Otani was 18 to scout him and attempt to forge a relationship. Furukawa and Watabe have been on the ground in Japan and have helped with assimilating past Japanese players, but primarily Yu Darvish, into the organization – another area Otani wants addressed.

All three can give their scouting report on Otani, and Daniels and Banister can explain how they plan to utilize him as a hitter and a pitcher.


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