Shohei Ohtani Prefers a Smaller Market & West Coast Teams To Start His Career! Which Teams Are Favorites To Land Japanese Superstar?

Japanese baseball star Shohei Ohtani is getting closer to deciding on a major league team. Multiple reports surfaced Sunday night on which teams would (and wouldn’t) receive an in-person meeting with the Japanese superstar.

Yankees general manager Brian Cashman informed reporters that his team was not invited to make an in-person presentation to Ohtani and his camp. The San Francisco Giants and the Seattle Mariners are still in contention to sign Ohtani, according to Yahoo Sports’ Jeff Passan. The Chicago Cubs and Los Angeles Dodgers were also considered potential suitors for Ohtani.

Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe reports that the Red Sox were also informed that they are out of the Ohtani sweepstakes as well. The Minnesota Twins have also dropped out, according to Jon Heyman of Fan Rag Sports.

MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand provided an aggregate list late Sunday night on what we know about Ohtani’s potential suitors.

Here’s what we seem to know Sunday night: Ohtani based on sources/reports:
Finalists include SF, SEA, SD, LAD, CHC, TEX
Teams eliminated: OAK, TOR, ATL, MIL, STL, AZ, NYM, NYY, BOS, TB, PIT, MIN, CHW, WAS
Unknown status: LAA, HOU, CIN, COL, CLE, MIA, BAL, DET, KC, PHI

Passan later reported that the Angels are also believed to be a finalist.

Ohtani, 23, is a two-way player who can serve as a pitcher and outfielder.Ohtani posted a 42–15 record with a 2.52 ERA and 1.08 WHIP in five years as a pitcher. He also hit .283 with 48 home runs and 166 RBIs in 403 games. The window for Ohtani to negotiate with MLB teams expires at 11:59 p.m. ET on Dec. 22. Teams interested in signing him will only be limited to the amount of money in their international bonus pools. A $20 million fee would go to the Nippon-Ham Fighters.

By Chris Chavez