The Padres are expected to meet with Shohei Ohtani Wednesday in Los Angeles, becoming the last of seven teams to make a pitch for the Japanese star's services, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports. The New York Mets, Oakland Athletics, Pittsburgh Pirates, Tampa Bay Rays, Minnesota Twins and Milwaukee Brewers are also among the teams told they won't sign Ohtani. The 23-year-old has until 11:59 p.m. EST on December 22 to agree to a contract with an Major League Baseball team.
The Mariners met with Ohtani and his representatives on Tuesday morning at the offices of the Creative Artists Agency in Los Angeles, the Seattle Times reported. Divish says "the exact traveling party to the meeting wasn't known", but Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto, director of scouting Tom Allison, Pacific Rim liaison assistant Antony Suzuki, and Japan-based scout Manny Noto all watched Ohtani play in person this past September in Japan. Others in the Rangers' contingent included Japanese scouts Joe Furukawa and Hajime Watabe.
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That didn't stop NY from trying to clear as much bonus money as it could, about $3.5 million, for a pursuit of Ohtani in which they had been considered among the favorites. The Rangers have the biggest available allotment at $3.535 million.
The list of finalists for Shohei Ohtani has a decidedly West Coast feel.
The CBA also limits how much a team can pay an global free agent that fits certain age restrictions. But he has consistently expressed a desire to test himself against top competition regardless of the financial ramifications. The winning team will, however, pay Ohtani's current employer, the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters, $20 million for the right to negotiate with the standout hitter/pitcher.