Q&A: What's next for Shohei Ohtani and MLB after charges against Ippei Mizuhara?

Bill Shaikin, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Baseball

LOS ANGELES — On March 25, Shohei Ohtani stood before television cameras assembled at Dodger Stadium and said this about his longtime interpreter, Ippei Mizuhara: “Ippei has been stealing money from my account and has told lies.”

That same day, according to a federal criminal complaint filed Thursday, Ohtani granted consent for law enforcement officials to search his phone. The 37-page complaint, which charges Mizuhara with bank fraud, provided details that support what Ohtani said publicly.

On March 20, after The Los Angeles Times first reported Ohtani’s representatives had accused Mizuhara of “massive theft” by using the the player’s money to pay off Mizuhara’s gambling debts, Mizuhara sent a message to his bookie.

“Have you seen the reports?” Mizuhara asked, according to the complaint.

“Yes, but that’s all bullshit. Obviously, you didn’t steal from him,” the bookie replied. “I understand it’s a cover job I totally get it.”

Mizuhara’s response: “Technically I did steal from him. it’s all over for me.”


What happens now between Ohtani and Major League Baseball?

On March 22, Major League Baseball announced an investigation into what it called “the allegations involving Shohei Ohtani and Ippei Mizuhara.”

Mizuhara already had been fired by the Dodgers and, as such, would not need to cooperate with the league. The bookmaker involved also could not be compelled to cooperate with the league.

Depending on how Mizuhara’s criminal proceedings play out, the league could interview Ohtani afterwards and decide whether any discipline would be warranted — or could drop the matter entirely. For now, the league waits.


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