The Shohei Ohtani sweepstakes is down to seven

Japan's starter Shohei Otani pitches against South Korea during the first inning of their semifinal game at the Premier12 world baseball tournament at Tokyo Dome in Tokyo. A person familiar with the decision

The Shohei Ohtani sweepstakes is down to seven

The Shohei Ohtani Hot Stove League has taken a new twist as reports indicate he has narrowed his list of teams to seven: the Dodgers, Angels, Giants, Padres, Mariners, Rangers and Cubs.

The choices somewhat confirm Ohtani's preference for a small market and West Coast team, but there are exceptions.

News began leaking out on Sunday that several teams - including the New York Yankees, the team many considered the front-runner to land Ohtani - were being told they were out of the running. And no manager is willing to move players around like Joe Maddon, so Ohtani could play some right field against right-handed pitchers with Jason Heyward shifting over to center.

MLB.com's Bryan Hoch was on-site to get direct word from Yankees GM Brian Cashman and, uh, The Grinch. "I can't change that that we're a big market and I can't change we're in the East".

Japan's starter Shohei Otani pitches against South Korea during the first inning of their semifinal game at the Premier12 world baseball tournament at Tokyo Dome in Tokyo. A person familiar with the decision
The Shohei Ohtani sweepstakes is down to seven

In 403 games over four seasons for the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters of the Japan Pacific League, Ohtani batted.286 with 48 homers, 166 RBIs and a.859 OPS. He must finalize a contract by December 22.

Ohtani is limited to a minor league contract because of restrictions imposed by the MLB collective bargaining agreement. NY had accumulated the second-most global free agent money, which will be used to sign Ohtani, as major league rules limit the amount he can receive. The Rangers have the largest signing bonus amount remaining among the teams he is considering at $3,535,000, followed by the Mariners ($1,557,500) and Angels ($1,315,000).

We have also heard that Ohtani reportedly likes the pitch the Giants made of possibly playing the outfield as well as pitch.

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