According to reports, all other teams are out of the running for the services of the 23-year-old Japanese right-hander with a 100 miles per hour fastball and devastating left-handed swing.
For example, the Cardinals, already deep with intriguing outfield options include Stephen Piscotty and Randal Grichuck, are among the teams said to be interested in several of the Rays pitchers - closer Alex Colome and starters Chris Archer and Jake Odorizzi.
The Cubs are among the handful of teams chosen to meet with highly coveted Japanese free agent Shohei Ohtani, according to multiple reports, despite multiple disadvantages in the bidding process for the two-way player. They spoke on condition of anonymity because not all teams had announced whether they were in or out.
Yankees general manager Brian Cashman told reporters that he was informed Ohtani's preference is to play for a West Coast team.
Ohtani could have waited two more years to reach the minimum age at which he would be eligible for a lucrative major league contract, part of restrictions on global signings included in MLB's recent collective bargaining agreement.
The largest deal he could sign is with the Texas Rangers for $3,535,000, followed by the Yankees ($3.5 million), Minnesota ($3.07 million), Pittsburgh ($2,266,750), Seattle ($1,557,500), Miami ($1.49 million) and the Los Angeles Angels ($1,315,000). However, he made a decision to come to the USA next year, with representatives at CAA guiding the bidding process and the Fighters set for a $20 million posting fee. The 23-year-old has until 11:59 p.m. EST on December 22 to agree to a contract with an Major League Baseball team.