While it may not come as much of a surprise, it appears, according to this tweet, that the Colorado Rockies are officially out of the Shohei Ohtani sweepstakes.
The 23-year-old Japanese player, who excels at both pitching and hitting and has been referred to as “the Babe Ruth of Japan,” is one of the hottest names on Major League Baseball’s hot stove this offseason, with perhaps only news about Giancarlo Stanton drawing as much attention from baseball fans. Ohtani-mania, however, appears will not be coming to Denver unless he is sitting in the visitor’s dugout or bullpen.
Three of Colorado’s division rivals, however, are reportedly still in the mix for Ohtani’s services. In this article, MLB.com states the San Francisco Giants, San Diego Padres and Los Angeles Dodgers join the Seattle Mariners, Los Angeles Angels, Texas Rangers and Chicago Cubs as the teams still in potential discussions for Ohtani.
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The bidding for Ohtani began with all 30 Major League teams receiving a memo from Ohtani’s representatives asking a series of questions that would give the Ohtani a better feel for each team’s advantages and drawbacks, on and off the field. The memo asked about everything from player development and medical training facilities to spring training facilities to what was referred to as “cultural assimilation” into the prospective team’s city.
But we also now know that distance from Japan seemingly played a role in Ohtani’s pairing down of cities as well. The further team east on Ohtani’s list is reportedly Chicago while the Rangers are the only other team on the list not on the West Coast.
While Ohtani may be out of Colorado’s reach, there is another Japanese pitcher who will be eligible to play in MLB in 2018 that could be of interest to the Rockies. As Purple Row explained in this article, Kazuhisa Makita, a 33-year-old right-handed reliever has a delivery and skills that could make him a valuable piece of what looks like will be a rebuilt Colorado bullpen in 2018.