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Shohei Ohtani crosses off White Sox, 20 other teams

Mostly West Coast teams remain in contention

South Korea v Japan - WBSC Premier 12 Semi Final Photo by Masterpress/Getty Images

The White Sox are out on Shohei Ohtani, which is fine since they were never likely in. They gave it a shot -- Rick Hahn channeled Michael Scott channeling Wayne Gretzky in his post-Welington Castillo conference call — but with a maximum bonus of $300,00 and no particular geographic or demographic advantages, any presentation had serious limitations.

That said, they were always going to have plenty of company in this first-ever game of musical chairs. All 30 teams could afford Ohtani, and 27 teams reportedly submitted presentations. The White Sox are one of 26 teams coming up short, and the Sox are on the lower end of the disappointment scale, because at least they have Luis Robert.

Some other teams — or at least their markets — are feeling the sting more.

Based on the teams not ruled out, it seems that Ohtani prefers the West Coast to market size alone. He’s eliminated the Eastern Time Zone from his list:

Five of those teams are on the West Coast, and the Rangers have the most money to offer. That leaves the Cubs as the hardest to explain, not just because of their location, but also because they’re similarly limited to a $300,000 offer because they blew out their bonus pool two years ago.

The biggest upset is that the Yankees weren’t included on Ohtani’s list. They seemed to a favorite for Ohtani’s services because they had considerable available money and considerable related opportunities for an ascendant team in the nation’s biggest city. The tabloids aren’t handling it well.

The Red Sox are also out, and there’s some saltiness in Boston, too.

Given that Ohtani’s earnings are artificially restricted and he could sign one of the management-friendliest contracts in baseball history if he even approaches the hype, he deserves the chance to make teams dance. Jeff Sullivan has been taking it further:

The Mariners seem like the favorites to me. If Ohtani wants to avoid huge markets, Seattle is the right size. Beyond that, the Mariners are well-versed in accommodating and integrating Japanese players, and they can offer him seven figures, too. San Diego strikes me as a compelling dark horse, because the recently extended A.J. Preller has a rich history of flouting MLB conventions, and sometimes illegally, so who knows what the hell the Padres might have promised.

If Jerry Dipoto and the Mariners land him, hopefully Thyago Vieira is the thank-you gift the White Sox deserve for the extra pool money. Unless...