After recently being posted by his Japanese team, the Hippon-Ham Fighters, Shohei Ohtani and his representatives must begin the free agent process quickly as he only has 21 days to sign with a Major League team.
In what was a bit of a surprising move, Ohtani ruled out the New York Yankees, among many other teams Sunday afternoon as he prefers to sign with a West Coast team that is also in a small market.
While the Los Angeles Dodgers are not a small market team, they do play on the West Coast and have a rich history of Japanese players in their organization, so while it wasn’t confirmed, it was believed that they were still in on the Ohtani sweepstakes.
That was confirmed Monday morning as according to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, Ohtani will soon be meeting with seven teams, and the Dodgers are one of them:
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) December 4, 2017
Five of the seven teams are on the West Coast, with the Texas Rangers and Chicago Cubs being the only other two teams remaining. The Rangers have the most money to offer him at $3.535 million, while the Cubs have one of the better young cores in baseball and have a chance to compete for World Series’ for many years to come, so it is not surprising that he is still considering both teams.
The Dodgers can only offer Ohtani $300,000, but living in Los Angeles will open him up to many marketing opportunities which could make up for his lack of salary.
Ohtani has until Dec. 22 at 8:59 p.m. PT to make his decision on who to sign with, and his signing could be the one of the first dominoes to fall on the free agent market.