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White Sox out of chase for phenom Ohtani

Two-way star narrows list to 7 teams; Chicago front office proud of presentation
MLB.com @scottmerkin

CHICAGO -- The White Sox long-shot pursuit of international free agent Shohei Ohtani ended Sunday, as the South Siders were not included among the finalists for the elite two-way talent.

"Our guys put together a great initial presentation," White Sox executive vice president Ken Williams told MLB.com of his team's pitch on Monday. "I was a little surprised we weren't afforded the opportunity to sit down with him because I felt when we get in front of people, there's a second presentation and there's an opportunity to express the genuineness in dealings with our players throughout the years and the consistency as far as that's concerned.

CHICAGO -- The White Sox long-shot pursuit of international free agent Shohei Ohtani ended Sunday, as the South Siders were not included among the finalists for the elite two-way talent.

"Our guys put together a great initial presentation," White Sox executive vice president Ken Williams told MLB.com of his team's pitch on Monday. "I was a little surprised we weren't afforded the opportunity to sit down with him because I felt when we get in front of people, there's a second presentation and there's an opportunity to express the genuineness in dealings with our players throughout the years and the consistency as far as that's concerned.

"It kind of resonates with people. I'm a little disappointed, but at the same time, as [White Sox general manager] Rick [Hahn] stated [Friday], we knew that it was a long shot because of the economics involved, and it may be from what I understand a logistical issue as well."

:: Shohei Ohtani coverage ::

Ohtani reportedly narrowed the list of possible destinations to seven finalists, featuring a strong West Coast flavor in the Dodgers, Mariners, Angels, Padres, Rangers, Cubs and Giants. The accomplished hitter and starting pitcher in Japan has the potential to star on both sides of the ball in Major League Baseball during the 2018 season and beyond, a rarity in the game.

Williams strongly believes this combination can be accomplished.

"This goes back years and years. As our people can tell you in our private meetings, I personally think that throughout the years there have been a number of people who could have done both," Williams said. "And I don't know why we pigeonhole players and we put limitations on players who have never put limitations on themselves.

"Let them do it and if it proves out that they can't, then you have to sit down with the player and make a decision together. I've always found that the best decisions come from more communication and openness.

"Then you've got the other party in this case, a player, all on board with doing one over the other," Williams said. "I've always said if we are in that fortunate position to where we got one of those type of players, I'd let him go ahead and do both until he shows he can't."

Hot Stove Tracker

Brooks Kieschnick pitched and hit for Triple-A Charlotte in 2002, working 25 games out of the bullpen for the Knights. Williams believes there's a current National League player, whom he chose not to name, who is capable of pitching and being a pretty effective designated hitter.

Playing the outfield or first base most likely would take a greater toll on Ohtani's arm and legs while being part of a rotation then serving as a DH, although Williams said a player such as Ohtani certainly could play the outfield two or three times per week. It's a rare sort of talent the rebuilding White Sox had to pursue.

"We have a responsibility to do everything we can and leave no stone unturned in terms of finding any avenue to put ourselves in the best position going forward for the long term," said Hahn on Friday. "You miss 100 percent of the shots you don't take. That's our approach on this one. Give it our best shot."

Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin, on 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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