Shohei Ohtani negotiations entering ‘final stretch’ – NBC Sports Bay Area & California

Baseball fans around the world might soon know who Shohei Ohtani will be playing for next season — and Giants fans certainly are waiting with bated breath.

Free-agency negotiations with the Japanese two-way star are entering their final stretch, with a small selection of MLB teams expected to meet with Ohtani and his representatives this weekend in Los Angeles, Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith reported Friday, citing industry sources with knowledge of the process.

While San Francisco is presumed to be one of the handful of teams who made a pitch, the team’s current standing in the Ohtani free-agency sweepstakes reportedly is unclear.

The Texas Rangers, Boston Red Sox and New York Mets all have turned their attention to other players on the market, while the Los Angeles Dodgers, Chicago Cubs, Toronto Blue Jays and Angels still were in the bidding as of Friday, ESPN’s Jeff Passan reported, citing sources.

“The San Francisco Giants have long had a fondness for Ohtani, though where they stand in these sweepstakes is unknown,” Passan wrote.

That might not be a bad thing as negotiations reportedly wind down. The Giants could be laying low to respect Ohtani’s wish for privacy after Passan reported last month that if any meetings with teams are leaked, the superstar would hold it against the organization.

San Francisco’s desire to sign Ohtani hasn’t been as private, however, as MLB Network’s Jon Morosi made clear during an appearance on “Hot Stove” earlier this week.

“Sources tell me the Giants are set, they are devoting their whole heart and finances to landing one of Shohei Ohtani or Yoshinobu Yamamoto in the coming weeks,” Morosi said.

Whether Ohtani or Yamamoto, a Japanese pitching target of the Giants, end up coming to San Francisco remains to be seen. But Giants fans could have their answer in the coming days.

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