This afternoon/evening was something of a whirlwind on Twitter as many teams – including a few notable (and now former) front-runners – found out that they were no longer in the running for the “Japanese Babe Ruth,” Shohei Ohtani.
That list reportedly includes: the Yankees, Red Sox, Blue Jays, Twins, Mets, Athletics, Pirates, Brewers, Diamondbacks, White Sox, Cardinals, Rays, Nationals. Plus the Marlins, whom we knew to be out from earlier today.
And by process of elimination (and a few hints here and there), we were able to guess that the Cubs were still in on Ohtani as one of the few non-West Coast teams. Now, we’re getting even more reports suggesting the same:
Hearing Rangers, Cubs are only 2 non-West Coast teams on Ohtani's meeting list. Rangers not saying a word.
— Evan Grant (@Evan_P_Grant) December 4, 2017
Apparently, the Cubs and Rangers are the only two remaining non-West Coast teams to still be in the running for Ohtani, and, according to Grant, they will each get meetings with Ohtani next week (more on that in a second).
First, I’d like to point out that something must *really* be drawing Ohtani to the Cubs. After all, they can’t offer Ohtani the West Coast – like the Padres, Giants, Dodgers, Angels, and Mariners can – and they can’t offer him the sort of money that the Rangers can ($3.535M versus $300K). Basically, the Cubs have managed to sneak their way onto his short list with a tiny bonus and the wrong geographic location. That’s not nothing, especially for a guy who seems to value competitiveness and the right fit above all else. They must be distinguishing themselves in some other way, and for a guy with all the options in the world, that’s a very good sign.
Now about those meetings.
According to reports on Twitter, Ohtani and his camp will be meeting with the “finalists” sometime this week in Los Angeles (though he has until December 22nd to sign). And aside from the Cubs and Rangers, whom we now know have earned themselves a meeting, it seems the Mariners, Giants, and Padres have, as well:
— Bernie Pleskoff (@BerniePleskoff) December 4, 2017
I haven’t yet seen anyone claim that the Dodgers and Angels will be getting meetings too, but you can probably count on those reports trickling out soon. Then, depending on how quickly these meetings actually happen (and how decisive Ohtani is), we should get an answer relatively soon (like next weekend at the earliest, I’d guess).
For now, be happy, Cubs fans. Your team just made it into the final round for a potential generational talent, and things are looking fairly good!