Finally, the last word on Shohei Ohtani to the Yankees
Shohei Ohtani turned down the Yankees because they play in too large of a market. That’s fine, but he should have let all 30 MLB teams know his intentions long in advance.
Late Sunday night, it was announced that Japanese two-way player (I won’t call him a star anymore until he proves it in the majors) Shohei Ohtani informed the Yankees he would not be signing with them.
In fact, outside of five teams all on the west coast of the United States, Ohtani severely narrowed down his field of potential employers.
After the dust had settled, only the Angels, Mariners, Giants, Dodgers and Padres remained. Interestingly enough, three out of the five teams left standing, play in the National League.
So unless Ohtani is going to demand he play an outfield spot when he isn’t on the hill, one would conclude that the Mariners or Angels have the inside track on the 23-year-old’s signature.
Even then, with Albert Pujols and Nelson Cruz in their current stead, giving Ohtani consistent at-bats as DH could become an issue — especially to the defensive arrangement of each respective club.
Yankees’ GM Brian Cashman told ESPN.com he was disappointed by Ohtani’s decision, and that there was nothing else the organization could have possibly done.
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"“I know that our presentation was excellent,” Cashman said. “The feedback from that was outstanding. But I did get a sense that I can’t change that we’re a big market, and I can’t change we’re in the East. That was something that, presentation or not, might be difficult to overcome.”"
Perhaps what we heard last week was actually true — that Ohtani prefers to the be the only Japanese player on a team.
I mean, I wouldn’t put it past him, not after his representation sent out a memo to all interested clubs asking how Ohtani fits in, not only to the particular club but the city it represents.
Ohtani is looking to become just the 56th Japanese-born player in MLB history.
With only three Japanese players currently signed to major league contracts (Masahiro Tanaka – Yankees, Kenta Maeda – Dodgers, Junichi Tazawa – Marlins) in addition to four free agents and one minor-league contract (Ichiro Suzuki, Nori Aoki, Yu Darvish, Koji Uhera and Hisashi Iwakuma – Mariners), it will be interesting to see if Ohtani actually steers clear of his fellow compatriots.
Next: Mock offseason Yankees' transactions
The bitter Yankees fan in me hopes Ohtani signs with the Padres so that he becomes absolutely irrelevant. But I’m better than that, so sign wherever the heck you want, Ohtani. Just know that when/if you play at Yankee Stadium, we’re going to let you hear about it.