After being posted by his Japanese team the Nippon-Ham Fighters, free agent Shohei Ohtani did not waste any time getting to work as he narrowed his meetings down to just seven teams.
Five of those teams are on the West Coast in the Los Angeles Dodgers, San Francisco Giants, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, San Diego Padres and Seattle Mariners, while the other two are the Chicago Cubs and Texas Rangers.
The move was a bit surprising, as he ruled out the perceived favorite to land him in the New York Yankees, but Ohtani reportedly prefers playing on the West Coast and possibly for a small market team.
While the Dodgers are not a small market team, they have shown interest in Ohtani for a while now as they attempted to sign him out of high school. According to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, they got the first crack at meeting with him and pitching him on playing in Los Angeles, as the Dodgers and Giants both met with Ohtani and his representatives on Monday:
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) December 5, 2017
The Dodgers would be a good fit for Ohtani, as it gives him an opportunity to compete for a World Series right away and the Dodgers also have the most depth in the league, so the two-way player could possibly pitch just once per week as he desires in addition to playing the field a few days per week.
Los Angeles faces a bit of a challenge in that they can only offer Ohtani $300,000 while the Rangers can offer him more than $3 million. But playing for the Dodgers would give Ohtani many marketing opportunities that he may not be able to receive in other cities, which could make up for his lack of salary.
Ohtani has until Dec. 22 at 8:59 pm PT to sign with a team, so a resolution on where he will be playing next year could come sooner rather than later.