Padres last of seven suitors to pitch Japanese star Shohei Ohtani


A baseball source confirmed Monday that Rangers officials had traveled to Los Angeles for their scheduled meeting with Ohtani and his representatives from Creative Artists Agency (CAA).

What does that mean for the St. Louis Cardinals? Adding to the unusual circumstances is that the 23-year-old can only be signed to a minor league deal paid out of a given MLB team's global signing-bonus pool money, meaning that the likes of the Yankees and Red Sox couldn't have brought bring their considerable financial advantages to the table. Possibly, but doesn't guarantee it. But Ohtani will be coming at a potential bargain any team signing him.

Ohtani, 23, is arguably the top free agent on the market. The two AL East powerhouses residing in those cities acknowledged Sunday that they were told the Japanese phenom, who has until December 22 to sign with an Major League Baseball team, eliminated each from the competition for his services.

New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman told reporters Ohtani is looking for a smaller market or to play on the West Coast-or both. "The feedback from that was outstanding".

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"I know that our presentation was excellent", Cashman said.

The window for Ohtani to negotiate with big league clubs will expire at 11:59 p.m. ET on December 22.

Ohtani is limited to a minor league contract because of restrictions imposed by the MLB collective bargaining agreement. The winning team will, however, pay Ohtani's current employer, the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters, $20 million for the right to negotiate with the standout hitter/pitcher. The largest deal he could sign is with the Texas Rangers for $3,535,000, followed by the Yankees ($3.5 million), Minnesota ($3.07 million), Pittsburgh ($2,266,750), Seattle ($1,557,500), Miami ($1.49 million) and the Los Angeles Angels ($1,315,000).