The Shohei Otani derby is heating up, and the landscape is becoming interesting. The New York Mets were planning a pursuit of Otani, as SNY contributor Andy Martino reports that they did complete Otani’s questionnaire to prospective teams. The questionnaire was designed by Otani’s agent in order to find his best fit in the majors, and the Mets were planning on making a pitch to Otani about why they would be the best fit for him. The whole sweepstakes took an unexpected turn this afternoon, when Otani’s reps informed the New York Yankees that he wouldn’t sign with them, Peter Botte of the New York Daily News reports.
A few hours after the Yankees were eliminated, word leaked out that the Mets have also been crossed off of Otani’s wish list. Yankees’ General Manager Brian Cashman discussed the situation and hinted that Otani is looking for a smaller market team on the West Coast. That would put teams like the Seattle Mariners at the forefront of the bidding. Otani’s dismissal of both New York teams, along with the Boston Red Sox among others, does hint that he wants to start his big league career away from the intense media a big market provides. There isn’t much that the Mets can do about that, so they will simply have to go back to the drawing board.