Remember yesterday when it sounded like the Mets at least had an outside chance at landing Japanese two-way phenom Shohei Ohtani? Well, those days are over, as Ohtani’s camp has officially informed the Mets that he will not be signing in Queens. The Mets weren’t the only team to be eliminated on Sunday, as the Yankees, Red Sox, Twins, Pirates, Athletics, Brewers, Diamondbacks, and Rays were also informed that the 23-year old would be signing elsewhere.
So where will the player dubbed as the “Japanese Babe Ruth” begin his big league career? Ohtani apparently prefers to play in a smaller market, on the west coast, and with a team that does not already have an established Japanese star player. The Seattle Mariners have apparently made Ohtani a priority and are lining up players to meet with him this week, while the San Francisco Giants are said to still be in on him. A possible offseason haul of Giancarlo Stanton and Ohtani would certainly be the start of a dramatic retooling for a team that bottomed out and lost 98 games this year.
Other teams that still are rumored to be involved include the Dodgers, Rangers, Angels, Padres, and the Cubs, who are considered a potential exception to Ohtani’s small market, west coast wishes. Playing for the Nippon Ham Fighters of the Nippon Professional Baseball League’s Pacific League, Ohtani has established himself as an elite talent as both a hitter and a pitcher. Through his age 18 through 22 seasons with the Fighters, Ohtani hit .286/.358/.500 with 48 home runs, while simultaneously pitching to a 2.52 ERA with 624 strikeouts in 543 innings over his 82 career starts.