Shohei Ohtani

Shohei Ohtani

MINNEAPOLIS — The Seattle Mariners and Los Angeles Angels each have acquired $1 million in international bonus pool money from the Minnesota Twins, aiding their pursuit of Japanese outfielder and pitcher Shohei Ohtani.

The teams announced the deals Wednesday night. Seattle sent minor league catcher David Banuelos to Minnesota, while the Angels traded minor league outfielder Jacob Pearson to the Twins.

Seattle can now offer Ohtani $2,557,500 and Los Angeles can spend $2,315,000. The Texas Rangers have the most slot money available with $3,535,000. Seattle, Los Angeles and Texas are among seven teams believed to be in the running for Ohtani.

Minnesota had $3.07 million in bonus pool money before the trades, but it is not among the finalists in the Ohtani bidding.

Banuelos was a fifth-round draft pick this year from Long Beach State. He is considered a strong fielder and was a finalist for the Johnny Bench Award as one of the nation’s top amateur catchers.

Pearson was Los Angeles’ third-round selection this year.

Ohtani narrows list; Mariners on it

Japanese pitcher and outfielder Shohei Ohtani has cut the field of major league teams he is considering to five clubs on the West Coast plus the Chicago Cubs and Texas Rangers.

The Los Angeles Dodgers and Angels, San Francisco, San Diego and Seattle all remain in contention.

Several teams said Sunday they were told they had been eliminated, and the seven remaining were confirmed Monday to The Associated Press by a pair of people familiar with the choices. They spoke on condition of anonymity because not all teams had announced whether they were in or out.

Ohtani is limited to a minor league contract because of restrictions imposed by the MLB collective bargaining agreement. The Rangers have the largest signing bonus amount remaining among the teams he is considering at $3,535,000, followed by the Mariners ($1,557,500) and Angels ($1,315,000). The Cubs, Dodgers and Giants are restricted to $300,000 maximums in the signing period through June 15 as penalties for exceeding their bonus pools in 2015-16 and the Padres are limited to $300,000 for going over in 2016-17.

“I started getting a feel that wasn’t good a few days ago,” Yankees general manager Brian Cashman told reporters at a holiday event Sunday night in Stamford, Connecticut. “I can’t change that that we’re a big market and I can’t change we’re in the East.”

Ohtani was put up for bid Friday by the Pacific League’s Nippon Ham Fighters for the maximum $20 million posting fee. The 23-year-old has until 11:59 p.m. EST on Dec. 22 to agree to a contract with an MLB team.

Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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