They never were contenders for Ohtani. 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 worldwide 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.
Ohtani would have likely signed a deal in excess of nine figures if he had waited until his 25th birthday, when he could have become an unencumbered free agent. The idea of teams offering him a secret long-term contract that won't be announced until years later would be a huge risk, as Major League Baseball is promising severe penalties if that happens.
"I started getting a feel that wasn't good a few days ago", Yankees general manager Brian Cashman told reporters at a holiday event Sunday night in Stamford, Connecticut. "The feedback from that was outstanding".
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Red Sox spokesperson Kevin Gregg confirmed to the Associated Press that Boston was also eliminated from the bidding.
It is uncertain when representatives from the other six clubs still in the running for Ohtani will meet with him, but most of those meetings are expected to take place this week, ahead of the winter meetings.
Ohtani is limited to a minor league contract because of restrictions imposed by the MLB collective bargaining agreement.
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Ohtani was put up for bid Friday by the Pacific League's Nippon Ham Fighters for the maximum $20 million posting fee.
The 23-year-old Japanese star faces a December 22 deadline to close a deal with the Major League Baseball team of his choice. The Rangers have the biggest available allotment at $3.535 million.
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