MLB

Japanese star Ohtani whittles list of potential teams

Japanese baseball player Shohei Otani delivers his speech during a press conference at the Japan National Press Club in Tokyo on November 11, 2017. Baseball superstar Otani voiced in the press conference his wish to continue playing both on the mound and at the plate in the US, saying he has not given up either pitching or batting. / AFP PHOTO / JIJI PRESS / STR / Japan OUT (Photo credit should read STR/AFP/Getty Images)

(TSX / STATS) -- Shohei Ohtani is regarded as the "Babe Ruth of Japan" but he will not playing for the New York Yankees.

Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said Sunday night that the agents for Ohtani told him the two-way star is not signing with New York.

The Yankees were not the only team to learn they would not be in the running for Ohtani.

According to the Boston Globe, the Boston Red Sox were informed they were eliminated from the bidding. Other media reports indicated that the Toronto Blue Jays, Pittsburgh Pirates, Minnesota Twins, Milwaukee Brewers and New York Mets are out of the sweepstakes.

Media reports indicated that the Seattle Mariners and San Francisco Giants are among nine teams to be granted a meeting with Ohtani.

Cashman also told reporters that Ohtani seems to prefer West Coast teams and smaller markets.

"(The Yankees) have been informed today that we have been eliminated from the Ohtani sweepstakes, so we are out," Cashman told reporters after rappelling down the 22-story Landmark Square Building in Stamford, Conn. "I got a call (Sunday), this afternoon, the first round was presentations. And I don't know who's invited to Round Two, but we're not."

The Yankees made a presentation to Ohtani, but Cashman he got a feeling the team was not going to get a chance to sign the 23-year-old hitting and pitching star.

"I started getting a feel that wasn't good a few days ago. I knew that our presentation was excellent. 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 that we're in the East. So that was something that presentation or not, might be a difficult thing to overcome. But we would see.

"Then I got the unfortunate news today that we were out of the picture. That does not mean that anybody East Coast and anybody big market is out of the picture. I can't speak for them. But I did get a feel that we were in jeopardy when I got praise on the presentation, but it felt like I was getting prepared for something that was coming that I wasn't going to want to hear."

Last season, Ohtani hit .332 with eight homers and 31 RBIs in 65 games, battling various injuries. In 2016, he hit .322 with 22 homers and 67 RBIs while also going 10-4 with a 1.86 ERA in 21 games (20 starts) on the mound.

In 403 games over four seasons for the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters of the Japan Pacific League, Ohtani batted .286 with 48 homers, 166 RBIs and a .859 OPS. As a pitcher, he was 42-15 with a 2.52 ERA in 85 outings (82 starts).

On Friday, Nippon Ham established a posting price at $20 million -- the maximum allowable figure. Baseball rules said that any team willing to meet the posting price would get a chance to negotiate within a 21-day window through Dec. 22.

Updated December 3, 2017


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