Shortly after being posted by the Nippon-Ham Fighters, Shohei Ohtani narrowed his search down to seven teams and it’s believed he is prioritizing playing on the West Coast.
The group of teams Ohtani has honed in on include the Los Angeles Dodgers, who have shown interest in signing the two-way star for some time, and the San Francisco Giants, Chicago Cubs, Seattle Mariners, Texas Rangers, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and the San Diego Padres.
With Ohtani only having until 8:59 p.m. PT on Dec. 22 to sign with a club, he and his representatives have moved along with the process relatively quickly. They held their first meetings in Los Angeles on Monday, speaking with both the Dodgers and Giants.
According to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, Ohtani met with more teams on Tuesday, and will likely sit with the Padres on Wednesday:
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) December 6, 2017
The Cubs and Rangers are the only two teams that aren’t on the West Coast, but given the Cubs young core of players, and the Rangers having the ability to offer him more money than any other team, it makes sense that both are still in the running.
Where the Dodgers may hold an advantage over all the other teams in the running is that they have enough depth to accommodate Ohtani pitching once a week and playing the field two or three times a week.
Additionally, living in Los Angeles could open up more financial opportunities for Ohtani, which could be a big factor as he is limited in the amount he can make in salary with whatever team he signs with for the first few seasons.
That being said, there is a belief that the 23-year-old is focused on playing and not concerned with potential off-the-field earnings.