Shohei Ohtani reportedly wants to play in a smaller market and on the West Coast, so what's that mean for the Cubs?

Vinnie Duber
NBC Sports Chicago

The biggest fish in baseball's offseason pond made some waves Sunday evening.

According to multiple reports, the New York Yankees are out of the running for Shohei Ohtani, the Japanese import who dazzles as both a pitcher and a hitter. That was big enough news regarding Ohtani, but some additional details being reported could have a big impact on the Cubs' pursuit.

Apparently, Ohtani is telling teams he prefers to play for a smaller-market team, and Yankees general manager Brian Cashman is saying that Ohtani wants to play on the West Coast, too, which lines up with another report saying the San Francisco Giants and Seattle Mariners are among the finalists to sign Ohtani.

Now, while the Cubs - along with plenty of other teams - aren't mentioned in any of that, all that info would seem to be bad news for those hoping to see Ohtani on the North Side next season. Cashman, among others, seems to know which teams are in the running for Ohtani's services, and the Cubs in no way fit the Yankees' general manager's description of a small-market team on the West Coast.

Again, because the Cubs are not mentioned at all and haven't been reported as in or out of the chase for baseball's top offseason target, the door remains open that they're in the running as much as anyone else. But with signs pointing to Ohtani preferring to play out West, perhaps Theo Epstein's front office is facing an uphill battle when it comes to convincing Ohtani to come to Chicago.

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