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Rizzo unveils plans for sales pitch for Ohtani

General manager to focus on Nats' recent success when wooing Japanese star
MLB.com @JamalCollier

WASHINGTON -- Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo outlined his sales pitch for Japanese star Shohei Ohtani to come to Washington on Monday afternoon on MLB Network.

The new posting system that was agreed to last Tuesday by MLB, the Players Association and Nippon Professional Baseball could be ratified as early as Friday, which will enter all 30 Major League teams into a recruitment battle for Ohtani, the 23-year old two-way sensation with the ability to pitch and hit.

WASHINGTON -- Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo outlined his sales pitch for Japanese star Shohei Ohtani to come to Washington on Monday afternoon on MLB Network.

The new posting system that was agreed to last Tuesday by MLB, the Players Association and Nippon Professional Baseball could be ratified as early as Friday, which will enter all 30 Major League teams into a recruitment battle for Ohtani, the 23-year old two-way sensation with the ability to pitch and hit.

"With Washington, we'll show him our wares," Rizzo said. "We'll give him an inside look at what the organization looks like. We've had sustained success since 2011."

The Nationals' recent success will be a large part of Rizzo's pitch. Washington has made the postseason in consecutive years and won the National League East four times in the past six seasons. The biggest, and perhaps best, selling point for joining the Nats is the chance to play for a World Series contender.

Washington is also no stranger to phenoms making anticipated Major League debuts -- see Stephen Strasburg in 2010 and Bryce Harper in 2012 -- so it should be equipped to handle the hype surrounding Ohtani.

"We have a lot to offer here with Washington, D.C.," Rizzo said. "It is an international type of city. We've got the Japanese embassy here. We've got a lot of things going for us. The number one thing is we have a great ownership group and a great team that he could join and have success right off the bat."

Rizzo also pointed to the organization's relationship with players as another selling point, including the decision to shut down Strasburg in the midst of the Nationals' playoff run in 2012. Despite the criticism the team received, Strasburg still did not pitch in the postseason because the team believed it was best for his long-term health. Strasburg has said how much he appreciated the handling of that situation, and how it played role in his decision to sign a long-term contract with Washington in May 2016.

The issue for the Nationals in the Ohtani sweepstakes is that they are limited in their international spending. Washington went on a spending spree in 2016, spending nearly $5 million on the international market when the club was allotted just $2.35 million. As a result, the Nationals have a maximum of $300,000 on any one bonus over the next two seasons. That's the most Washington can offer Ohtani, while the Yankees or Rangers could offer up to $3.5 million.

So while the Nationals might not be able to offer the same financial compensation as some other teams, Rizzo still has strong selling points on why Ohtani would be comfortable in Washington.

Jamal Collier covers the Nationals for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier.

Washington Nationals