The sweepstakes for Japanese star Shohei Ohtani continue in the MLB.
On Sunday, Ohtani eliminated two thirds of MLB teams and surprised everyone by removing the Yankees from his list of finalist, the team most thought were the absolute favorites.
This morning MLB insider Ken Rosenthal from The Athletic, reported the list of finalist that are still in the running to land possibly the next "Babe Ruth".
And the list goes as followed:
The Rangers are the team with the most money of the group at just over $3.5 million dollars, but it's obvious that is not a factor for Ohtani as he eliminated the Yankees who had similar money for him.
Joe Maddon's Cubs are somewhat of a surprise on the list as Ohtani's representatives had indicated that he was more interested in a West Coast team. The Cubs in a very real need for starting pitching and if they sign Ohtani it could mean saying goodbye to Jake Arrieta.
Maybe Maddon's outside the box thinking when it comes to baseball has caught the attention of Ohtani, as it seems the Cubs skipper would be more than willing to use him in different situations.
On the other hand, the Mariners are still all in on Ohtani and it appears their "full court press" is working.
According to GM's around the league, Seattle seems like the front-runner for Ohtani at this moment.
The Mariners made it very clear from the beginning they would give Ohtani an opportunity to be the two-way star he wants to be in the Big Leagues.
Jerry Dipoto, Mariners General Manager, even went on to say that the team is willing to send Me some Cruz back to right field on days Ohtani doesn't pitch and use the Japanese star as a DH. Similar to what he did with the Nippon-Ham Fighters in Japan.
The "dark horse" in the Ohtani race seems to be one of the biggest teams in baseball, the Dodgers.
With only $300K to offer Ohtani it seemed difficult for the team to land the two-way star at the beginning, but with the Nippon player not interested in the money but more the situation he would be in the Dodgers have now gone from "unlikely" to a " real possibility".
Dodgers have a great history of Japanese players, including the very first one to do it In Hideo Nomo and most recently Kenta Maeda and Yu Darvish.
A week ago it was reported that Ohtani preferred not to sign with a team that already had a Japanese star, but it seems that has gone out the window.
The seven teams left in contention will be meeting with Ohtani this week and we should have a decision by next week. As the teams only have until the 22nd of December to finalize a deal.