Trouble in the City of Angels: Shohei Ohtani Under Investigation

Shohei Ohtani at a press conference. (Photo Daniel Shirey/MLB Photos via Getty Images)

By Owen Kutlu, Staff Writer

The entire landscape of the MLB changed for the foreseeable future this offseason when the league’s biggest star, Shohei Ohtani, decided to sign with the Los Angeles Dodgers. But before Ohtani could even suit up for a regular season game in Dodgers blue, there was already drama surrounding his name.

Back on Mar 20, the Dodgers fired Ippei Mizuhara, Ohtani’s interpreter and seemingly close friend. The reason behind the firing was due to allegations of Mizuhara transferring around $4.5 million from Ohtani’s bank account to cover his gambling debt to a sportsbook that was under federal investigation.

Ohtani has claimed that he was unaware of these transactions and has also confirmed that he never placed any bets using the illegal sportsbook. Shortly after saying Ohtani funded Mizuhara’s debt at the interpreter’s request, Mizuhara changed his story to match Ohtani’s.

It is also important to know that Mizuhara stated that he never bet on baseball. By rule, MLB players and employees are allowed to bet on sports other than baseball; however, they cannot use illegal bookmakers.

Since the issue became public, Ohtani has begun playing in Dodgers games so far this season. While the MLB continues the investigation surrounding Ohtani, he will continue to be the difference maker that the Dodgers signed in December until further notice.

Ohtani’s legal team is handling the situation and has alerted authorities about the theft committed by Mizuhara. There is little information being made public about the behind-the-scenes work from Ohtani’s lawyers.

At this point, there are still many questions to be answered, such as how Mizuhara got access to Ohtani’s bank account, why Ohtani never noticed the large amounts of money being taken out of his account and what/when the endpoint of this investigation is.

Ohtani has since gotten a new interpreter, Will Ireton, who was already a part of the Dodgers organization in many different roles. Not having his right-hand man anymore, Ohtani’s social relations within the clubhouse are sure to change, for better or worse.

The only thing to do for now is to wait and see what the MLB’s investigation leads to for both Ohtani and his former interpreter. Mizuhara’s location is currently unknown and it does not look like that is going to change anytime soon.

While nothing has been confirmed or denied yet, something fishy is certainly going on when it comes to the whole situation. It will be interesting to see how everything plays out legally.

Author: Gettysburgian Staff

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