Seriously serious breaking news this evening, as Japanese slugger/ace/uber-prospect Shohei Ohtani is narrowing his field of MLB suitors already.
Check it out:
Ohtani has told #yankees they won’t sign with them, Cashman says
— Brendan Kuty (@BrendanKutyNJ) December 3, 2017
Shohei Ohtani’s representatives told the Yankees that they will not be among the teams invited to make an in-person presentation. Brian Cashman said the news was “disappointing.”
— Bryan Hoch (@BryanHoch) December 3, 2017
Sources: Shohei Ohtani continues to narrow the field for his meetings next week. The New York Yankees are out. The San Francisco Giants are one of the finalists. The Seattle Mariners also are in.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) December 3, 2017
haven't heard yanks are officially out, but ohtani is telling teams he prefers a smaller market. which could bode well for twins, mariners, padres, pirates, etc. https://t.co/eXM88aPVPb
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) December 3, 2017
This is really wild stuff, as everyone thought the Yankees would be the frontrunner … and they don’t even get to full pitch him!
The reports are also a little contradictory, since the Giants do not play in anything that could remotely be described as a small market. But hey, if the Giants are a finalist, then Ohtani isn’t dead set on being a DH. So that’s something.
For now, I think it’s safe to say the Yankees are out, the Giants and Mariners are probably looking good, and it could be wide open beyond that, including with teams you wouldn’t otherwise expect. Perhaps the Cubs can convince Ohtani that Chicago has all the big city advantages, but a small town feel …
UPDATE 1: The west coast seems to be the preferred destination for Ohtani, but don’t count the Cubs out just yet:
Sources briefed on Ohtani cutdown tell me "heavy West Coast" flavor to final list. #Cubs a possible exception along with SEA, SF, SD and both LA clubs.
— Mike Berardino (@MikeBerardino) December 3, 2017
If this report is accurate, then you can probably start crafting your shortlist from these six teams (though this doesn’t definitively count out anybody else):
So, if I'm reading these rumors correctly, Ohtani's market is probably something like: Cubs, Giants, Padres, Dodgers, Angels, Mariners
– 4 NL, 2 AL
– 5 west coast, 1 Midwest
– 4 big markets (LA, LA, SF, CHI), 2 smaller (Sea, SD)
– 1 is it the Cubs.
— Michael Cerami (@Michael_Cerami) December 3, 2017
The Cubs, so far, appear to be the lone geographic exception to the West Coast rumor, but maybe that’s not such a bad thing:
Maybe this makes it a tougher road for the Cubs, but it would be great to still be in the mix, and might even give them a way to separate themselves.
— Bleacher Nation (@BleacherNation) December 3, 2017
UPDATE 3: And now Ken Rosenthal is reporting that the Arizona Diamondbacks are out, as well.
As best as I can tell from reports on Twitter (as of 7:26 pm CT), the teams that have so far been told they are *out* on Ohtani include: Yankees, Red Sox, Blue Jays, Twins, Mets, Athletics, Pirates, Brewers, and Diamondbacks. And White Sox. And Cardinals (oh, thank god). And Rays. And, Marlins (which we knew from earlier today). And Nationals.
I’ll keep adding to this list as more teams are eliminated.
UPDATE 4: Marc Topkin is now reporting that the Cubs may not be the only non-West Coast teams still in on Ohtani, as the Rangers
and Rays (not anymore, see above) could be among the “exceptions.”