Ken Rosenthal reported a few minutes ago that seven teams remain in the running to sign Shoehei Ohtani: the Dodgers, Angels, Padres, Mariners, Giants, Rangers and Cubs.
Ohtani and his representatives will meet with these teams in Los Angeles some time this week, after which he’ll make a decision on where to play.
This list, generally speaking, jibes with reports that Ohtani wishes to play on the west coast. The Rangers remain in the running, however, because they have the most bonus money available to give to Ohtani, at around $3.535 million. The inclusion of the Cubs on the list is somewhat surprising, geographically speaking, and because they don’t have a ton of bonus pool money to pay him. They do look to be a stronger on-field contender than all of the clubs on the list with the possible exception of the Dodgers, though, and that cannot be discounted as a factor.
The Winter Meetings begin in a week. It’s quite possible that Ohtani will be introduced by his new team by then.
Arizona Diamondbacks right fielder Steven Souza dove for a ball in a spring training game last night, missed, and ended up injuring his right shoulder.
It looked bad, too. Center fielder Jarrod Dyson stood over him, frantically waving to the dugout for a trainer as Souza kicked his legs in apparent pain. Souza held his arms awkwardly as he walked off the field. At the moment the Dbacks are calling it a right shoulder strain, but he’ll get an MRI on it today after which a more specific diagnosis will come.
If Souza is out for a while it’s a pretty big blow to Arizona’s 2018 plan. Souza was acquired to help cushion the blow of losing J.D. Martinez in free agency. While not the hitter Martinez is, Souza hit 30 homers in Tampa Bay last year, stood likely to at least match that in the more hitter-friendly confines of Chase Field and, of course, plays superior defense.
Potential replacements for Souza include moving David Peralta from left to right and inserting Yasmany Tomas in left or having fourth outfielder Dyson, or perhaps a platoon of Dyson and utilityman Chris Owings, handle right. Socrates Brito is another internal option.
Obviously the Snakes will wait to hear the results of the MRI before going too deeply into replacement plans, all the while hoping that Souza’s injury is far less serious than it appeared to be last night.