The Yankees will not come away with one of the biggest prizes of the 2017-18 offseason, as Shohei Ohtani‘s representatives informed the Yankees that he will sign elsewhere.
Reports indicated that Ohtani was working to narrow the field of teams that he has interest in. The San Diego Padres, San Francisco Giants, Seattle Mariners and the two LA teams are listed as favorites at this point. An exception to the “small market, West Coast” skew is reportedly the Chicago Cubs, per the Pioneer Press’ Mike Berardino.
The Yankees supposedly impressed Ohtani with their pitch, but the presence of Masahiro Tanaka and the bright lights of New York City likely dashed this plan. The Mets, Red Sox and Twins are the other teams reportedly out of the chase for the Japanese two-way star.
Intrigue surrounds Ohtani since he has the potential to be a full-time two-way player at the MLB level. The 23-year-old slashed .286/.358/.500 with 48 home runs and 166 RBIs in 403 games. As a pitcher, he had a 42-15 record with a 2.52 ERA, 624 strikeouts and 200 walks in 85 games (82 starts).
The Bombers will now likely shift their focus to re-signing LHP CC Sabathia, or looking for other starting pitcher options on the market. They will also have to re-purpose the international signing bonus pool money they accrued in the hopes of landing Ohtani. They will likely target Kevin Maitán, the top prospect among the Braves players released as penalty for breaking of international signing rules. The other target would be RHP Kazuhisa Makita, who was posted by the Seibu Lions.