The hottest words in baseball right now are Shohei Ohtani and things seem to be getting hotter every minute.
According to Nikkansports.com, "The Japanese Babe Ruth" Ohtani has narrowed down his favorites to sign in the Big Leagues and it seems the Yankees and Dodgers are the top teams as of now.
Though the teams are not mentioned in the report, the New York and Los Angeles teams are mentioned and Evan Altman, from Cubsinsider.com, filled in the rest with the full list being the Yankees, Dodgers, Mariners, Rangers, and Cubs.
Altman also explains the Red Sox and the Angels are the first teams out of the TOP 5, but they could still pull a surprise move.
The only two teams that seem to not have a chance or are throwing the towel in are the Philadelphia Phillies, according to Altman, and the Miami Marlins, as reported by Tim Healey of the Sun Sentinel.
Nikkansports.com also goes on to say that Ohtani is expected to decide quickly who he will sign within the MLB.
Major League Baseball owners voted unanimously Friday to approve a new posting agreement with their Japanese counterparts, a move that allowed bidding to start for coveted pitcher and outfielder Shohei Ohtani.
Following the deal with Nippon Professional Baseball, Ohtani was put up for bid by the Pacific League’s Nippon Ham Fighters for the maximum $20 million posting fee.
That opened a window for the 23-year-old to reach agreement on a contract with an MLB team until 11:59 p.m. EST on Dec. 22.
The teams with the most bonus money for Ohtani are:
- Rangers ($3,535,000)
- Yankees ($3.5 million)
- Twins ($3.07 million)
- Pirates ($2,266,750)
- Mariners ($1.557,500)
- Marlins ($1.49 million)
- Angels ($1.35 million)
The Yankees have shown of late that they will be as aggressive as possible for Ohtani, and even General Manager Biran Cashman admitted in an interview with the YES Network that the New York team has been planning for the Japanese for a while. As far back as when the Yankees traded for Sonny Gray and got a large chunk of International-Pool money.
"The Japanese Babe Ruth" is the reigning Pacific League MVP and was 3-2 with a 3.20 ERA this year, limited because of a thigh injury and a hurt ankle that required surgery Oct. 12. He hit .332 in 65 games with 16 doubles, eight homers and 31 RBIs.
He has a 42-15 record with a 2.52 ERA and 624 strikeouts in 543 innings over five seasons, and a .286 batting average with 48 homers and 166 RBIs.
Ohtani together with Giancarlo Stanton have slowed the free agent and trade market like never before and it seems like there won't be many dealings done until these two decide where they want to go.