After snubbing the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox, the hot potato of this MLB offseason, Shohei Ohtani, has narrowed down his shortlist to 7 teams: Chicago Cubs, Los Angeles Dodgers, San Francisco Giants, Texas Rangers, Seattle Mariners, Los Angeles Angels and San Diego Padres.
It’s quite clear what Ohtani’s mindset is: Not necessarily the most money, but preferring the West Coast, which means being closer to Japan and the bigger Japanese-American communities (too bad for him there’s no MLB team in Hawaii). And yet, both the Cubs and Rangers are in the picture.
The Rangers can offer Ohtani the most money ($3.533 million) as signing bonus, but as we mentioned, that’s a secondary interest. He’s projected to make at least $20 million a year through endorsements, so the initial signing bonus isn’t the biggest factor in his decision.
Ohtani has 3 weeks to make his decision, but it has been speculated he’ll do it way before. Maybe even by next week’s winter meetings.
Many have said he’d fit in the best playing for the Cubs due to his Pitcher-outfielder trait, due to Wrigley field’s dimension, and the young talent he’ll be surrounded with right away, which will help take off the pressure. The New York tabloids have been ripping him apart since he turned down the Yankees and Red Sox, claiming he wasn’t up for the challenge of playing where there’s the most pressure. However, the American League, where he could rotate between pitcher and DH, could be a better fit, regardless of team.
Ohtani batted .332 with a .403 OBP and .540 slugging in 2017, playing for the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters. He posted a 3.20 ERA through 25.1 innings of work.