Brian Cashman: Yankees are out of the sweepstakes for Shohei Ohtani
Yankees GM revealed the news at a charity event Sunday
"I got the news today that we have been eliminated. I don't know who is invited to round two, but we are not," Cashman said shortly after rappelling down a building at the annual Heights & Lights event in Stamford, Conn. "It's disappointing, but I did get a feel that we were in jeopardy when I got praise on the (initial) presentation, but it felt like I was getting prepared for something that was coming that I wasn't going to want to hear."
According to several reports, Ohtani seems to prefer playing in a smaller market farther out West, and Cashman seemed to further that narrative in explaining the Yankees' departure from the sweepstakes.
"I know that our presentation was excellent, but I did get a sense that I can't change that we're a big market and we're in the East," the GM said. "If I was a West Coast team in a small market, I'd be excited right now."
Numerous other teams have been informed they are out on Ohtani as well, according to various MLB writers around the league, and Bob Nightengale of USA Today Tweeted late Sunday afternoon that several MLB GMs have told him they believe Seattle is the front-runner right now.
Ohtani, 23, was officially posted on Friday, and teams have three weeks from his posting date to sign him. Because of his age, Ohtani is subject to the hard international spending cap, so his maximum signing bonus can only be the amount the signing team has left in their international bonus pool for 2017-18; the Yankees have just over $3.5 million available, second-most in MLB behind Texas, and were thought to be a favorite in part because of that, but Cashman said it wasn't meant to be, despite the team putting forward a strong initial presentation.
"It was a pretty extensive presentation, something we were real proud about, and I know we knocked their socks off," Cashman said. "I told our staff when we filed this that if it's not going to be us, it's not because of us. I felt real comfortable and confident and proud about everything that we did to try to put ourselves in position to be the team to secure him, it's just not going to be us."
A few notes from Cashman's media session at the Stamford Heights & Lights event:
-Now that they are out on Ohtani, the Yankees definitely have an opening in their starting rotation for 2018, and Cashman revealed that he spoke to CC Sabathia's agent last week.
-Cashman has also spoken to Scott Boras twice since the GM meetings last month, but has not talked to Boras about the possibility of dealing Jacoby Ellsbury, who has a full no-trade clause.
-Finally, Cashman would not confirm that Aaron Boone is the Yankees' next manager, but did acknowledge that the search has concluded and he is "glad to have it in the rearview mirror."