Ohtani MLB market: These two trades could swing the race for the Japanese free agent

As part of the pursuit of Japanese two-way star Shohei Ohtani, the Mariners on Wednesday acquired $1 million in international slot money from the Twins. Going to the Twins will be catching prospect David Banuelos. Shortly thereafter, the Angels sent outfield prospect Jacob Pearson to the Twins, also for $1 million in international slot money.

This is significant because the Mariners and Angels are two of seven teams still in the running for Ohtani, who profiles as both a potential ace on the mound and impact hitter at the plate, and Ohtani is subject to the strict bonus limits that cover July 2 international free agents. This additional $1 million in cap space for both teams now means this ... 

Given that widening gap, it seems likely that the Mariners, Angels and Rangers are the front-runners for Ohtani, although the Padres are thought to be strong contenders despite their bonus limitations. In any event, the Mariners and Angels have been perhaps the most active teams during the Ohtani recruitment, and now they'll of course be able to make an even more lucrative pitch to the 23-year-old prized free agent. 

On the Twins' side of things, Banuelos, a fifth-rounder out of Long Beach State drafted just this year, put up a .725 OPS across 36 games in the Northwest League in 2017. A bit more ... 

Pearson, also a 2017 draftee -- in the third round out of a Louisiana high school -- spent 40 games in the rookie-level Arizona League. In essence, the Twins added two high draft picks to their 2017 class at a nominal cost. 

As for the Mariners and Angels, they're both in for an anxious finish to the Ohtani derby. 

CBS Sports Writer

Dayn Perry has been a baseball writer for CBS Sports since early 2012. Prior to that, he wrote for FOXSports.com and ESPN.com. He's the author of three books, the most recent being Reggie Jackson: The... Full Bio

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