MLB Notebook: Ippei Mizuhara charged for stealing from Shohei Ohtani, Jordan Montgomery drops agent Scott Boras, and more

Brett Holden
14 days ago

Ippei Mizuhara charged for stealing from Shohei Ohtani

Former translator for Shohei Ohtani, Ippei Mizuhara, has been charged with bank fraud. Mizuhara has been accused of stealing $16 million from Ohtani and using the money to wire illegal sports betting bookmakers. The offence holds a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison. 
According to a criminal complaint laid against Mizuhara, he would call banks associated with Ohtani’s accounts and would impersonate Shohei to push the wire transfers through. 
Recorded phone calls produced by Bank A related to the x5848 Account show MIZUHARA falsely identifying himself as Victim A, and attempting to trick and deceive Bank A employees into authorizing wire transfers from the x5848 Account to associates of BOOKMAKER 1.”
Mizuhara is reportedly considering a guilty plea but details on the plea remain unknown.
The document released text conversations between Mizuhara and his bookmakers discussing payment structures, picks he won or lost, and eventually admitting to stealing from Ohtani.
Ippei Mizuhara initially came in contact with ‘Bookmaker 1,’ identified as Orange County resident, Matthew Bowyer, in September of 2021. A separate bookie acted as the middle-man between the two, relaying messages between Bowyer and Mizuhara about payments. 
In the first few months, Mizuhara struggled to settle his payments while travelling with the team and eventually returning to Japan at the end of the Angels season. Throughout the document, Ippei asked Bowyer to bump his credit up seven times throughout their communications.
I’m terrible at this sport betting thing huh? Lol . . . Any chance u can bump me again?? As you know, you don’t have to worry about me not paying!!
Ippei Mizuhara placed a total of 19,000 bets between December 2021 and January 2024 averaging about $12,800 per bet with his highest bet reaching a total of $160,000. Mizuhara won over $142.2 million from betting but lost over $182.9 million, a net negative of $40.7 million. 
Once reports began to spread about Ippei’s involvement in sports betting, he contacted Bowyer, asking if he had seen any of the headlines. “Yes, but that’s all bulls**t. Obviously you didn’t steal from him. I understand it’s a cover job I totally get it,” Bowyer assured Mizuhara. Technically I did steal from him. it’s all over for me.”

MLBPA & MLB continue to clash amidst pitching injuries

The MLBPA has had a rough start to the season. Starting off with the cheap jersey remakes from Fanatics and Nike, to an unsuccessful, half-hearted coup, and now pitching injuries. There are now 35 players on the injured list with Tommy John surgery and that number only continues to grow. Since the start of April, there have been 10 pitchers to reach the IL due to arm injuries; eight elbow injuries, including Tommy John surgeries, and two shoulder injuries to Josh Szorz (rotator cuff), and Jakob Junis (shoulder impingement).
As mentioned in Monday’s Notebook, the pitch clock has been the prime suspect. Heading into only the second season in operation with the rule, the MLB decided to reduce the amount of time pitchers have to deliver pitches with a runner on base from 20 seconds, down to 18 seconds. To start the year, MLB pitchers average around 15.5 seconds between pitches when there are no runners on and 18.4 seconds with runners on base. The numbers from last year are relatively similar from 2023 with 15.5 seconds without runners and 19.0 seconds with runners on. However, those numbers sit in stark contrast to the numbers as recent as 2021. Without runners, pitchers averaged 18.4 seconds between pitches, the same amount of time between pitches in today’s game with runners on base. With runners on base: 24.2 seconds; just under six seconds longer than the 2024 MLB average. 
The new pitch clock rules were adamantly opposed by the MLBPA in the offseason, fearing more arm injuries… and guess what happened…
The MLB has recently responded to the concerns, saying they have found no evidence of a possible connection between arm injuries and the pitch clock. An independent study from Johns Hopkins University found no connection and has received support from the League.
But players are not happy with this ruling. A handful of pitchers have voiced their displeasure with the league’s response, including currently injured ace, Gerrit Cole: To be able to say you implement something in one year and it has no effect is shortsighted.”
When the rule changed over the winter, all four players on the competition committee opposed the move, seemingly an attitude shared by most players as well: I don’t know what advertising money you’re getting for two seconds that makes it logical to move it up for two seconds.”
Despite player opposition and vocal disdain, the MLB changed the rule. But it seems as though not even the league could give Cole give a good reason for the alteration: I asked someone high up who doesn’t work there anymore what exactly the reason was for it, and he couldn’t really give me a good answer.
Dodgers two-way star Shohei Ohtani, who is not pitching at all this season due to his second Tommy John operation, also gives some flak to the pitch clock: “Pitchers want to throw the best possible pitch that they could throw… I’m sure there’s some added pressure just to the body in having to maintain a workload in less amount of time.”
His manager, Dave Roberts shares the sentiment saying “To protect these guys’ arms is paramount.” However, Roberts feels the league has been far from successful in their goal. Clearly we haven’t nailed it.”
Getting the most out of your pitchers is key for any coaching staff, but coaches are scared of what’s to come. A former coach of Shane Bieber, who has also recently fallen victim to this epidemic, Matt Blake, puts it best: “I’m pretty worried.”
What comes next for baseball and pitchers is unclear, but given the direction we are taking, more injuries could be on the horizon before anything of substance can be done. 

Jordan Montgomery fires Scott Boras

Recent Arizona Diamondbacks signing Jordan Montgomery, has changed representation and fired Scott Boras as his agent. Montgomery is coming off an offseason as a free agent that was filled with will-he-or-won’t-he drama. Montgomery stayed a free agent until March 26th, two days before the D-Backs season opener against the Rockies. 
Montgomery was not the only player to be victimized by the anti-Boras offseason. Boras represented 14 of the top players who found new homes during the offseason, including Cody Bellinger, Matt Chapman, Jordan Montgomery, J.D. Martinez and Blake Snell. All four of those players signed contracts significantly lower than they were valued at the beginning of the offseason, including some rejections for higher price points from some teams. All five of those players signed in the middle of Spring Training and two of them have yet to make an appearance in the Big Leagues so far this season, catching up with their preseason conditioning. 
Included in those two players who have yet to play an MLB game this season is Montgomery. Last Sunday, Montgomery was optioned to Triple-A Reno, where he made a start against the Sacramento River Cats. Montgomery threw 4.0 innings allowing two earned runs on three hits and striking out three. 
Montgomery will now be represented by Joel Wolfe and Nick Chanock from the Wasserman Sports Agency. The agency negotiated some of the most expensive deals in recent winters including Yoshinobu Yamamoto, Tyler Glasnow, Zack Wheeler, Edwin Diaz, Matt Olson, José Berrios, Seiya Suzuki, and many more. 
Boras should begin to worry. This was far from a successful strategy from the super-agent this offseason… to say the least. Most of his clients signed short-term contracts with their new teams. The longest contract Boras was able to secure for his clients was Cody Bellinger’s three-year, $80 million deal with the Cubs, the team he played with previously. Bellinger was seeking upwards of $200 million on the open market
Scott Boras has failed his clients in recent years and if Montgomery becomes the drip before the leak, Boras may be out some of his most elite assets sooner rather than later. 

Quick Notes:

  • Jackson Holliday called up by the Baltimore Orioles. Baseball’s No. 1 prospect made his MLB debut on Wednesday against the Boston Red Sox. Holliday went 0-4 with two strikeouts but did bring in a run in a 7-5 win.  
  • Yoan Moncada to miss significant time with a hip injury. The White Sox have placed Moncada on the 15-day IL but is expected to miss up to six months. Moncada becomes the ninth player on Chicago’s injured list.  
  • The Naylor brothers hit unlikely homers against the White Sox. Josh and Bo Naylor celebrated National Siblings Day by hitting home runs in the same inning against Chicago. This is the second time the brothers have gone deep in the same inning when they did it last year against the Rangers. They become the fourth pair of brothers in baseball history to hit home runs in the same inning twice in their career. 

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