Report: 3 Teams Drop Out Of Ohtani Bidding; 4 Teams Remain

From all accounts, the Shohei Ohtani Sweepstakes should come to its conclusion within the next couple of weeks. The Winter Meetings are set for next week, and it's thought that sometime during or right after, the biggest free agent chase in baseball history will have been won. And according to Insider Jeff Passan of ESPN, three top teams have dropped out of the bidding, leaving likely 4 to battle it out. 

The field for Ohtani's services has winnowed, sources said. The Texas RangersBoston Red Sox and New York Mets, who were among the initial group of suitors, have turned their attention to other players, sources said. Among those confirmed by sources to be still in the bidding: the Los Angeles DodgersChicago CubsToronto Blue Jays and (LA) Angels.

Passan adds that the status of the San Francisco Giants, another team thought to be after the two-way superstar, is unknown. 

Seeing the World Series champion Rangers drop off the list is surprising, given that they clearly went out and "bought" a championship through free agent signings in the past couple of years, and why wouldn't they attempt to continue that strategy? 

The Mets, of course, through owner Steve Cohen, have all the money in the world, so that wouldn't have been an issue for them. Could it be the uncertainty over Ohtani's pitching arm? 

Calling him "the all-time free agent", Passan suggests that Ohtani's pitching status after he recovers from elbow surgery following 2024 has actually not affected the bidding price, and it is still expected to surpass half a billion dollars, likely to the $550M mark or even $600M. 

The Dodgers are clearly still the overwhelming favorite, but according to a top baseball insider at least, the Cubs, Blue Jays (and even the incumbent Angels) cannot be counted out. 

Photo: Kiyoshi Mio-USA TODAY Sports