I’ve hesitated several times to send an email out, because developments are dropping seemingly by the second, but in the last 90 minutes a number of teams have acknowledged publicly that they have been told by Shohei Ohtani’s representatives — just two days into the 21-day period during which the 23-year-old righthander/hitter must choose which club to sign with — that they are no longer in the running.
Specifically, according to a handful of national and team-local sources on Twitter, the following teams have been told they’re out of the race (alphabetically aside from the first team, which I feel #behooved to list first):
The dude isn’t wasting time.
Yankees GM Brian Cashman told reporters this evening: “I can’t change that we’re in a big market and I can’t change that we’re in the East.” Whether that means only smaller-market teams on the West Coast remain in play — or if simply either one of those categories fits — the Rangers have not yet identified themselves tonight as in or out. Before the Rays acknowledged being told they were out, Mark Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times suggested the “Cubs, Rangers, [and] Rays could be among the exceptions” to the Cashman qualifier.
Jon Heyman (FanRag) adds that, according to sources, the Padres remain in the mix, while the Dodgers “are believed to remain alive in [the] Ohtani hunt (unconfirmed). However, word is they are not necessarily seen as a favorite.”
And just as I was about to hit “send,” there’s this from Bob Nightengale (USA Today): “Several MLB GMs now believe that the Seattle Mariners are the clear-cut front runners for Ohtani’s services and the Mariners are cautiously optimistic.”
Of course, as of yesterday many national reporters were convinced the Yankees were the odds-on favorite.
This would be a seriously good time to bookmark Levi Weaver’s Ohtani Tracker. I’m sending this now because I’ve got to send it sometime.
I’ll shoot you an update if and when there are Rangers-related developments. Otherwise, you’re on your own. Stay strong.
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Following a report tonight from Evan Grant (Dallas Morning News) that the Rangers and Cubs, based on what he is hearing, are “the only two non-West Coast teams on [Shohei] Ohtani’s meeting list,” Ken Rosenthal (MLB on FOX) tweeted:
“Teams known to be or believed to be meeting with Ohtani, per sources and reports: Dodgers; Mariners; SFGiants; Padres; Cubs; Rangers. Status of Astros and Reds not known. Status of Angels also not known.”