Top international player Shohei Otani did not list the Tampa Bay Rays as one of his seven potential landing spots. Of the seven teams listed, six play in the west.
Any glimmer of hope that the Tampa Bay Rays had in signing top international player Shohei Otani was stomped out Sunday. Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times via Twitter reported that the Rays were one of the teams Otani left out of his potential landing spots.
Otani cut his list of preferred teams to seven this weekend according to MLB.com. The seven teams Otani has listed are the Rangers, Mariners, Padres, Cubs, Angels, Dodgers, and Giants as teams that are still in the running.
The common factor in six of those seven teams is that they are on the west coast. The only team Otani could land pass the Mississippi River was the Cubs.
More from Rays News
- Tampa Bay Rays give richest contract in franchise history to Wander Franco
- Rays: Just how good was Randy Arozarena’s rookie season?
- Tampa Bay Rays catcher Mike Zunino stands out despite low batting average
- Tampa Bay Rays’ playoff loss comes despite ‘playing better than they played’
- Rays’ Randy Arozarena turns back the clock with timeless memories
Many across the baseball community are surprised that Otani did not have interest in the New York Yankees.
The cover of the New York Daily News called Otani “a chicken” for not wanting to come play in the Big Apple.
Yankees’ General Manager Brian Cashman shared a more plausible reason Otani did not want to come to New York.
"“I started getting a feel that wasn’t good a few days ago. I knew that our presentation was excellent. The feedback from that was outstanding, but I did get a sense that I can’t change that we’re a big market and I can’t change that we’re in the east.”"
If it is true that Otani did not want to play on the east coast, the Tampa Bay Rays were almost certainly lost in the bidding for the top international player in the world.
The Rays made their pitch last week to the Japanese two-way player. Marc Topkin wrote that the Rays could have used two-way prospect and first round pick Brendan McKay as a bargaining chip.
Otani would prefer to pitch and hit wherever he lands. But at the end of the day, Otani listed seven teams, and the Rays were left out.