At one point during Sunday afternoon, MLB Insider Jon Heyman had reported that Ohtani was "telling teams he prefers a smaller market." Passan reported Saturday that Seattle has asked players to clear their schedules to travel to Los Angeles and meet with Ohtani.
The Red Sox were hoping their pursuit of Ohtani could be helped by the positive past experiences Japanese players like Daisuke Matsuzaka, Hideki Okajima, Takashi Saito, Junichi Tazawa and Koji Uehara had in Boston. But Ohtani also wants to hit on a regular basis, and the Cubs could certainly use an influx of offense after their bats went quiet during recent playoff series against the Washington Nationals and Los Angeles Dodgers.
The Arizona Diamondbacks have also been told no by Ohtani's representatives, according to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic and MLB Network. That leveled the playing field and made Ohtani's personal preferences that much more important. By leaving Japan at 23, Ohtani can only sign a standard major-league rookie contract, and his signing bonus cannot exceed $3.535 million.
Rays officials declined to comment on the news, as they had about their initial interest in Ohtani, out of repsect to the process.
The Rangers, Yankees and Twins had the ability to pay the most to an global amateur free agent.
Ohtani has been the talk of the offseason with all 30 teams speculated to be vying for his services. Yu Darvish was the ace of the starting staff until he was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers at the trade deadline in July.
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