Report: MLB is expected to "quickly interview and clear" Shohei Ohtani after federal investigation ends

With Ippei Mizuhara facing federal criminal charges, Major League Baseball is expected to find that Dodgers star Shohei Ohtani did nothing wrong.

According to Bob Nightengale of USA Today, via Sports Business Journal, MLB "is expected to quickly interview, and clear Shohei Ohtani of any wrongdoing once the federal government’s investigation is complete."

The federal investigation seems to be close to ending, given the lengthy and detailed affidavit filed against Mizuhara last week. The document paints Ohtani as a victim, exonerating him of any knowledge of or involvement with gambling.

Ohtani said on Friday (via SBJ) that he's “ready to return to just focusing on baseball," adding this: “I’m very grateful for the Department of Justice’s investigation. For me personally, this marks a break from this, and I’d like to focus on baseball.”

Mizuhara is accused of stealing more than $16 million from Ohtani. Federal investigators, after reviewing the phones of Mizuhara and Ohtani, found that there had been no digital discussions between them regarding gambling. (Of course, they could have been talking about the situation in person, or they could have used burner phones. The feds presumably thought about that, but didn't find any reason to think Ohtani knew what was happening.)

The whole thing remains very strange. Mizuhara was close enough to steal millions, but Ohtani had no idea that Mizuhara was doing or what he was doing with the money.

The most curious paragraph in the affidavit continues to be the last one in the document: “On or about March 20, 2024, MIZUHARA messaged BOOKMAKER 1 stating, ‘Have you seen the reports?’ BOOKMAKER 1 responded, ‘Yes, but that’s all bullshit. Obviously you didn’t steal from him. I understand it’s a cover job I totally get it.’ MIZUHARA then responded to BOOKMAKER 1, ‘Technically I did steal from him. it’s all over for me.’”

The bookmaker called it a "cover job." Mizuhara said "technically I did steal." That one word — technically — stands out.

Mizuhara either stole or he didn't. Technically invites speculation that it's not as black and white as the feds are making it appear to be. If it's all gray, it becomes harder for Ohtani to steer clear from it.

If this is anything other than someone being close enough to steal from Ohtani's bank account but nevertheless able to conceal his gambling from Ohtani, Mizuhara needs to speak up, quickly. Otherwise, he will be taking the fall, technically and actually, for committing massive theft from Ohtani.