Passan reported Saturday that Seattle has asked players to clear their schedules to travel to Los Angeles and meet with Ohtani. By early Sunday night, most other clubs had been informed they were eliminated from consideration. They spoke on condition of anonymity because not all teams had announced whether they were in or out.
The 23-year-old Ohtani, a star pitcher and hitter who must sign with a major league team by December 22, has begun informing finalists of their meetings, which could run from this Tuesday to Friday.
"I can't say that is 100 percent the case, but I got the indication Friday evening that our presentation was fantastic and that it might not be a ideal fit, " Yankees GM Brian Cashman said on Sunday night of a conversation he had with Ohtani's representatives.
Ohtani has been put up for bid by the Pacific League's Nippon Ham Fighters for the maximum $20 million posting fee.
"I know that our presentation was excellent", Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said. "I can't change that that we're a big market and I can't change we're in the East".
When it comes to Major League Baseball free agents, it's hard to find someone as intriguing as two-way Japanese star Shohei Ohtani. By leaving Japan at 23, Ohtani can only sign a standard major-league rookie contract, and his signing bonus cannot exceed $3.535 million. The Mariners now have $1.55 million available to offer, while only the Rangers ($3.53 million), reportedly eliminated Yankees ($3.5 million), Twins ($3.07 million) and Pirates ($2.26 million) have more.
Chicago Cubs: Like the Dodgers, they're limited to $300,000 in bonus money, but they can offer Ohtani a first-rate, winning franchise that needs only an ace starting pitcher to go alongside all the young position player talent.
The next step in the process is face-to-face meetings between Ohtani and the finalists.
Shohei Ohtani will not sign with the Mets, much to the surprise of, well, no one really.