It's been a slow start to baseball's offseason, but it looks like there's at least a little movement when it comes to one of the most intriguing free agents available this winter, Shohei Ohtani.
Unfortunately, part of that news is the Milwaukee Brewers didn't make the cut as the two-way Japanese star whittles down his list of suitors.
According to Adam McCalvy, GM David Stearns was one of many to get a call today that his team was no longer being considered.
Brewers have been told they're out of the running for Shohei Ohtani, David Stearns confirms. "We wish him the best of luck with his decision."— Adam McCalvy (@AdamMcCalvy) December 4, 2017
It looks like Brooks Kieschnick will remain the only full-time fielder/pitcher in team history, assuming Hernan Perez doesn't nail down a relief role this spring.
The odds of Ohtani choosing the Brewers never seemed that high to begin with, but the league's rules for signing international players at least gave the team equal footing with teams like the Yankees and Cubs in the pursuit of a one-of-a-kind player.
There was a sliver of hope, though -- McCalvy reported a few days ago that the Brewers' pitch highlighted the opportunity for playing time he would have in Milwaukee, the benefits of being a left-handed hitter in Miller Park, and joining the Brewers' quickly improving young core. It didn't hurt that Ohtani shares an agent with Ryan Braun and Jimmy Nelson, and also represented Norichika Aoki when the Brewers signed him out of Japan.
Reports coming out today indicate Ohtani likely prefers a team in a smaller market (which would have benefitted the Brewers) or on the West coast (which would not have benefitted the Brewers, unless he was talking about the West Coast of Lake Michigan). That would appear to give the Mariners, Giants, Padres and both Los Angeles-area teams a good chance. Oakland has also already been told they're out of the sweepstakes.
Ohtani is rare in that he's young for a Japanese player being posted -- he doesn't turn 24 until July -- and he's been an absolute star offensively and on the mound. During his 5 years in Japan, he hit .286/.358/.500 with 48 home runs in 403 games. He also has a 2.52 ERA in 543 career innings, striking out 624 batters in 85 appearances. As a 21-year-old in 2016, He had a 1.86 ERA with 174 strikeouts and 45 walks in 140 innings, while hitting .322/.416/.588 with 22 home runs and 18 doubles in 323 at-bats.
Statistics courtesy of Baseball-Reference