Shohei Ohtani Has Reportedly Narrowed List to Five Teams, Cubs Among Them

He’s makin’ a list, he’s checkin’ it twice, gonna find out whose city is nice. Shohei Claus is comin’ to town.

The first thing we need to establish before going forward is that you need to take translated info with a grain of salt, particularly when you’re relying on your web browser to perform said translation. That’s particularly important when we’re talking about the Japanese language, the characters of which don’t have direct equivalents in the English alphabet. As we’ve noted before, that’s why there’s been some confusion as to exactly how Shohei Ohtani’s name should be spelled.

But if we can trust what we see in a report from Nikkan Sports via Yahoo Japan, the two-way superstar has narrowed his list of potential teams down to five. I’ve included a screenshot of the original text below, but here’s the rudimentary translation of the most salient section of the article:

Otani side who intends to not want to trouble the major transfer market already has information that it limits the candidate to about five teams, and the possibility of early settlement is high

Clunky phrasing aside, what we already know about the situation provides more than enough context to establish the veracity of this report. Ohtani has said he’ll consider every team and even the long-shots like the White Sox and Reds are preparing their pitches, but the general consensus has been that only a handful of organizations really have a shot. So who are they?

Off the top of my head, I’d say the Yankees, Dodgers, Mariners, Rangers, and Cubs lead the way (Ed. note: MLB Network confirmed that those are indeed the clubhouse leaders). The Red Sox and Angels figure to be in the immediate orbit as well, with a few others circulating at the periphery. The only thing we really know for sure is that the Phillies won’t be in the mix.

All things considered, hearing that Ohtani is potentially down to five teams isn’t particularly revelatory. Reading that “the possibility of early settlement is high,” however, that is something worth discussing just a little further. Now, this could be a matter of the translation losing a bit of fidelity. After all, the guidelines of the posting process allow Ohtani only 21 days to make a decision.

Major League Baseball owners unanimously ratified the new posting agreement between MLB and NPB on Friday, thus allowing the Nippon-Ham Fighters to officially post Ohtani. He’ll have until 11:59 pm ET on December 22 to negotiate with teams.

So this piece could simply be referring to that very abbreviated courtship period. Or it could be using that for context and saying that Ohtani will settle quickly relative to the given window. Wouldn’t that be something? I can tell you that it’d do wonders for my blood pressure.

Hold on to your butts.

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