Shohei Ohtani Rumors: Yankees out on Free Agent; Giants and Mariners Finalists

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistDecember 3, 2017

Japan's pinch hitter Shohei Otani reacts after a strikeout swinging in the eighth inning of an international exhibition series baseball game against Mexico at Tokyo Dome in Tokyo Thursday, Nov. 10, 2016. (AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi)
Shizuo Kambayashi/Associated Press

Shohei Ohtani has no shortage of suitors as he prepares for his MLB arrival, but the New York Yankees are apparently out of the race to land the Japanese star.

According to MLB.com's Bryan Hoch, Ohtani's representatives informed the Yankees front office the franchise won't be afforded the opportunity to have an in-person meeting with the 23-year-old.

Hoch also reported Yankees general manager Brian Cashman believes teams on the West Coast may be leading the pack:

Bryan Hoch @BryanHoch

Re: Ohtani... Cashman said that if he was a West Coast team in a smaller market, he’d be excited right now.

Based on that, it comes as little surprise the Seattle Mariners and San Francisco Giants are still in contention for Ohtani, per Yahoo Sports' Jeff Passan. The San Diego Padres are also in the mix, according to Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports. The Mariners are considered the "clear-cut front runners" to land Ohtani, according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today.

However, Ohtani eliminated the Minnesota Twins from his available options, according to Heyman. Meanwhile, Boston Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski confirmed the Red Sox are out of the running as well, per the Boston Globe's Pete Abraham.

USA Today's Jorge L. Ortiz reported last month Ohtani may prioritize his success on the field over his comfort level away from it. Ortiz spoke to sources who said the "way his talents are used" is of greater significance than the whereabouts of his next team.

Between the Yankees, Twins and Red Sox, three playoff teams from 2017 are exiled from the Ohtani sweepstakes.

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According to the Athletic's Ken Rosenthal, the Oakland Athletics are no longer in the hunt, which takes one West Coast franchise out of the picture.

Playing in Seattle or San Francisco, Ohtani would be a little closer to home than he would in the Midwest or on the East Coast. Both cities would also likely subject him to less scrutiny than he'd receive in New York or Boston.

Smaller-market teams are generally priced out of signing the best free agents during the offseason, so Ohtani's decision to spurn MLB's biggest markets could shake up the league's postseason landscape over the next few years.

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