Cubs chosen to meet with Japanese free agent Shohei Ohtani

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Shohei Ohtani, whose fastball has been clocked at 100 mph, is said to prefer the West Coast and smaller markets. |
Shizuo Kambayashi/AP

The Cubs are among the handful of teams chosen to meet with highly coveted Japanese free agent Shohei Ohtani, according to reports, despite multiple disadvantages in the bidding process for the two-way player.

The Cubs would neither confirm nor deny Sundaynight whether they made the cut to the next stage of the process for the player some call the “Babe Ruth of Japan.”

Ohtani, whose fastball has been clocked at 100 mph, is said to prefer the West Coast and smaller markets. The Yankees, once considered a favorite, were told they didn’t make the cut.

Because he wants to start as a hitter when he’s not starting as a pitcher, American League teams would seem to have an advantage. And the Cubs have only about $300,000 to offer in international bonus money because they overspent their allotment last year.

Among the teams meeting with Ohtani are the Rangers, who have the most international money to offer ($3.54 million) and the Giants, who have $1.84 million available. The Mariners ($1.56 million) also are among the teams that made the cut, along with the Dodgers and Padres.

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