NEW YORK — Japanese pitcher and outfielder Shohei Ohtani has cut the field of major league teams he is considering to five clubs on the West Coast plus the Chicago Cubs and Texas Rangers.
The Los Angeles Dodgers and Angels, San Francisco, San Diego and Seattle all remain in contention.
Several teams said Sunday they were told they had been eliminated, and the seven remaining were confirmed Monday to The Associated Press by a pair of people familiar with the choices. They spoke on condition of anonymity because not all teams had announced whether they were in or out.
Ohtani is limited to a minor league contract because of restrictions imposed by the MLB collective bargaining agreement. The Rangers have the largest signing bonus amount remaining among the teams he is considering at $3,535,000, followed by the Mariners ($1,557,500) and Angels ($1,315,000). The Cubs, Dodgers and Giants are restricted to $300,000 maximums in the signing period through June 15 as penalties for exceeding their bonus pools in 2015-16 and the Padres are limited to $300,000 for going over in 2016-17.
“I started getting a feel that wasn’t good a few days ago,” Yankees general manager Brian Cashman told reporters at a holiday event Sunday night in Stamford, Connecticut. “I can’t change that that we’re a big market and I can’t change we’re in the East.”
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 an MLB team.