Shohei Otani trimmed down the list of teams he could potentially sign with over the weekend, and surprise surprise, the Phillies aren’t one.
The Shohei Otani sweepstakes have taken center stage in the baseball hot stove, with all 30 teams, including the Phillies, able to sign him. Otani was officially posted Friday, and the rumors have been swirling ever since.
Almost every team made their pitch to Otani over the weekend, and he trimmed down the list to seven teams according to Ken Rosenthal of the Athletic:
This list from Rosenthal went against most of the common criteria people thought Otani had. They expected him to want to sign with a big-market team, an AL club where he could be a designated hitter, and/or one that could give him the largest signing bonus.
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However, that doesn’t seem to be the case as many of the teams with the largest bonus pools are not included in the second round of Otani courting. In addition, four of the seven clubs play in the National League, indicating Otani could play in the outfield rather than just DHing when he isn’t pitching.
A common trend among most of the teams in this list was pointed out by Yankees general manager Brian Cashman in the New York Daily News:
"“I started getting a feel that wasn’t good a few days ago,” Cashman said. “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.”"
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A big market in the east? Sounds a lot like Philadelphia. It didn’t help they were low on signing money for this year and don’t exactly have the most competitive team, but who knows how much that played into things.
Five of those teams are on the West Coast, and the other two (Chicago and Texas) at least aren’t on the East Coast like New York and Philadelphia. New York is certainly the biggest market in the country, but Los Angeles and Chicago certainly aren’t small markets either. Teams like San Deigo, Seattle, and San Francisco fit the description more so than the other clubs.
It’s still hard to get a full read on exactly what Otani wants in his future team, but the picture should become clearer as he whittles down his list before eventually choosing where to sign.