The waiting game with Shohei Ohtani and his free agent tour have progressed through the heart of this year’s Major League Baseball Winter Meetings, seeming to have a large impact on the rest of the market.
Because teams are waiting on Ohtani’s decision to make their next moves, it has created a lock on both the trade and free agency market. Blake Snell and Yoshinobu Yamamoto have yet to sign, partly because teams in on the two-way star could also opt to pursue them after they miss out.
The Los Angeles Dodgers, Toronto Blue Jays, Chicago Cubs, Los Angeles Angels, and San Francisco Giants are among teams with the most interest in Ohtani, and all are looking to make a splash this offseason.
Although a decision isnot expected to be made until the end of this week, Ohtani reportedly has been mulling his next destination since some point last season, per Jon Heyman of the New York Post:
Though it isn’t known yet who leads among those three finalists, plus the Cubs and Angels, a clubhouse source told The Post Ohtani told him during the season that he liked the idea of going to at least the Dodgers or Jays if he left the Angels.
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts confirmed that the team met with Ohtani at Dodger Stadium last week, and it’s also believed that he met with the Blue Jays and Giants.
Some projections for Ohtani’s deal have him in the $600 million range, with the Dodgers still tabbed as the favorites. If he does opt to return to the Angels, some believe he could go for a short-term deal with a record average annual value attached.
Dave Roberts maintains Shohei Ohtani is ‘top priority’
Roberts’ comments on the superstar during the Winter Meetings were both complimentary while providing a hint of the team’s pursuit to sign him.
“This is obviously a front office, baseball operation situation,” Roberts said. “They’re working tirelessly, and there’s a lot of scenarios and ways that this could go. But clearly Shohei’s our top priority. So I still think that we’ve got a lot of people working on other things ultimately to be the best ballclub we can be.”
Roberts also noted that he believes he and the Dodgers have abided by Ohtani and agent Nez Balelo’s wishes to keep closed-door information out of the media.
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