Since being posted by his Japanese team, the Nippon-Ham Fighters, Shohei Ohtani has moved quickly in deciding what team he wants to sign with. The process was expedited in some sense as he sent a memo to all 30 teams asking how they would plan to use him, among other topics.
In the last few days, Ohtani had a chance to meet with seven teams he selected as finalists for his services: Los Angeles Dodgers, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, San Diego Padres, San Francisco Giants, Seattle Mariners, Texas Rangers and Chicago Cubs.
Among Ohtani’s reported priorities are to play on the West Coast and for a small market team, which has many believing that the Mariners and Padres are currently the favorites to land him.
He has not yet ruled out any of the seven teams yet, though, and may not before ultimately decides which team to sign with. It’s believed that decision could come as soon as next week, according to Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports:
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) December 7, 2017
The Rangers aren’t on the West Coast, but they have to most to offer Ohtani at $3.535 million. In an attempt to compete with that, both the Mariners and Angels completed trades with the Minnesota Twins on Wednesday night to acquire more international bonus pool money. It put them at $2.55 million and $2.31 million, respectively.
Because they exceeded their bonus pool allotment in previous international signing periods, all four National League teams are limited to offering Ohtani a $300,000 signing bonus. Although, money isn’t believed to be Ohtani’s driving force in choosing what team to join.
While a deal is expected to come soon, Ohtani has until 8:59 p.m. PT on Friday, Dec. 22, to make a decision.