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Blue Jays out of running to sign Ohtani

Two-way Japanese star narrows field, to meet with clubs this week
MLB.com @gregorMLB

TORONTO -- The Blue Jays have been informed they are out of the running for 23-year-old Japanese star Shohei Ohtani.

Ohtani narrowed his list of potential suitors Sunday night and Toronto did not make the cut. The pitcher, slugger and outfielder is believed to prefer a West Coast team, and while there may be an exception or two in the final group, it will not include the Blue Jays.

TORONTO -- The Blue Jays have been informed they are out of the running for 23-year-old Japanese star Shohei Ohtani.

Ohtani narrowed his list of potential suitors Sunday night and Toronto did not make the cut. The pitcher, slugger and outfielder is believed to prefer a West Coast team, and while there may be an exception or two in the final group, it will not include the Blue Jays.

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Toronto has some company in this department. According to multiple reports, American League East rivals New York, Boston and Tampa Bay are all out of the running as well. A list of finalists is believed to include the Mariners, Padres, Giants, Rangers, Cubs, Dodgers, Angels and possibly the Rockies.

:: Shohei Ohtani coverage ::

"We felt confident about our presentation," Blue Jays general manager Ross Atkins told MLB.com's Mark Feinsand. "We were given feedback by Shohei Ohtani's representation that we controlled everything within our power."

Blue Jays assistant general manager Andrew Tinnish and Pacific Rim operations scout Dan Evans were among the club officials who watched Ohtani in person. Toronto devoted a significant period of time chasing Ohtani but was always considered a heavy underdog in these sweepstakes.

The news came less than 48 hours after Ohtani was officially posted by the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters. Teams still in the running are expected to meet Ohtani and make their pitches in person. The most Ohtani can receive from any organization is approximately $3.5 million (Rangers), and any team would also have to pay a $20 million posting fee. He has until Dec. 22 to sign with an MLB club.

The low cost for such a potential impact star meant every team in baseball at least explored the possibility of signing Ohtani. From the Blue Jays' perspective, he would have been a perfect fit considering he wants to be a member of the starting rotation and a regular piece of the lineup. Toronto is looking for another starter and a corner outfielder, so at least on paper, these two sides were a match.

Yankees general manager Brian Cashman strongly suggested that Ohtani would prefer to play in a small market, which would have been another knock against Toronto.

"I started getting a feel that wasn't good a few days ago," Cashman said. "I know that our presentation was excellent. The feedback from that was outstanding. I did get a sense that I can't change that we're a big market and I can't change that we're in the East. That was something that, presentation or not, might be difficult to overcome."

Gregor Chisholm has covered the Blue Jays for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook, and listen to his podcast.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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