The Blue Jays, New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox are among the teams that pitcher and outfielder Shohei Ohtani has ruled out, and it seems the Japanese star will likely pursue a smaller market nearer to the West Coast.
“Unfortunately we were informed we didn’t make the final round today,” Jays general manager Ross Atkins said in a text message.
New York general manager Brian Cashman said, while confirming the Yankees were out of the running, said “I can’t change that we’re a big market and I can’t change we’re in the East.”
The final group in the Ohtani sweepstakes appears to be comprised of largely West Coast teams, with the possible exceptions of the Chicago Cubs and Texas Rangers.
Other teams who were told they wouldn’t land Ohtani included the New York Mets, Oakland Athletics, Pittsburgh Pirates, Tampa Bay Rays, Minnesota Twins and Milwaukee Brewers.
Ohtani was put up for bid Friday by the Pacific League’s Nippon-Ham Fighters for the maximum $20-million posting fee. The 23-year-old has until 11:59 p.m. EST on Dec. 22 to agree to a contract with a major-league team.
Ohtani is limited to a minor-league contract because of restrictions imposed by the MLB collective bargaining agreement. The largest deal he could sign is with the Rangers for $3,535,000.