Shohei Ohtani’s narrowing market has dominated headlines today, though not every club joined in on the action. According to ESPN’s Buster Olney (Insider subscription required), at least three teams didn’t respond to the request made last week by Ohtani’s agent asking for each MLB club to pitch itself to the Japanese star via a seven-point written explanation. It isn’t known which teams didn’t submit the information, though it’s probably safe to assume the Marlins were one, as they’re the only team known to have declined a pursuit of Ohtani’s services. Unless a club had received some knowledge about Ohtani’s preferred destinations and knew not to bother, it doesn’t seem like there’s any reason why a team wouldn’t have at least tried to attract his attention. As Olney put it in September, not even trying for Ohtani “would be the general manager’s version of failing to run out a ground ball.”
Here’s more from around the baseball world…
- The Yankees weren’t one of the teams that made it through to the interview stage with Ohtani, though his agents at CAA reportedly tried to at least give New York some further consideration, FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman reports. It seems as if Ohtani simply prefers to play closer to the West Coast, and thus while the Yankees made a lot of sense for him on paper, there wasn’t any need to include them in the next stage of candidates.
- The Rangers are one of the teams reportedly still in the hunt to sign Ohtani, though if they’re at a disadvantage if Ohtani is favoring West Coast teams, Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News proposes a more unique way for the Rangers to stand out — a six-man rotation. This would give Ohtani a schedule more akin to his one start-per-week schedule in Japan, plus give him more opportunity for at-bats in between his starts. Beyond just favoring Ohtani, Grant argues that a six-man rotation might also help the Rangers keep Cole Hamels and Martin Perez fresher, while allowing the club to manage Matt Bush’s innings in a possible transition to starting pitching. Texas manager Jeff Banister has spoken in favor of a six-man rotation in the past, and given the Rangers’ lack of starting pitching depth, now might be as good a time as any to be creative.
- Robbie Erlin’s contract with the Padres will pay him $650K in 2018, MLB.com’s AJ Cassavell reports (Twitter link). The left-hander was eligible for arbitration for the first time this winter, though he and the Padres avoided the process by agreeing to that one-year deal, which fell just shy of MLBTR’s projected $700K salary for Erlin. After undergoing Tommy John surgery in May 2016, Erlin missed all of the 2017 season recovering from the procedure.