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.
Heard at least 27 teams made some sort of presentation to Ohtani based on the questionnaire CAA sent out. If he never intended to consider certain markets in the first place, why make front offices do that dance?— Pete Abraham (@PeteAbe) December 4, 2017
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:
if you're Shohei Ohtani I don't know how you don't ask every single general manager you meet with to bark like a dog— Jeff Sullivan (@based_ball) November 28, 2017
as soon as Shohei Ohtani receives all his meticulously completed team questionnaires he should post a video of himself throwing them off a tall bridge— Jeff Sullivan (@based_ball) December 2, 2017
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...
Shohei Ohtani: I've made my choice. I'm signing with the Mariners— Matthew Kory (@mattymatty2000) December 3, 2017
Jerry Dipoto: That is wonderful news. We are honored to have you
Ohtani: Thank you
Dipoto: You've been traded to the White Sox