The Major League Baseball free agent market continues to sit at a relative standstill as Shohei Ohtani and a number of teams further their pursuit of one another.
With the MLB Winter Meetings underway in Nashville, Tennessee, Ohtani sits at the top of available players on the open market. Alongside Yoshinobu Yamamoto and Blake Snell, the two-way star holds most of the cards because of how coveted his services are.
His ability to change the game is worth the high price tag, and the ‘lucrative’ contract that seems like an inevitable outcome. The Los Angeles Angels, Chicago Cubs, Toronto Blue Jays, Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants are among suitors.
Ohtani, however, could be nearing a decision fairly soon, per Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic:
The Dodgers have long been considered the front-runner for Ohtani, but the Jays in recent weeks have emerged as a serious suitor. The urgency with which Toronto is maneuvering seemingly reflects a series of circumstances that is forcing the club into win-now mode.
Teams meeting with Ohtani and his representation have been kept a secret, and a clear outlook for when he’ll commit isn’t known. But with front offices around MLB trying to fill out their rosters now, that could accelerate the overall process:
While a timetable for Ohtani’s free-agent decision is not known, the meeting would indicate that the negotiations with the Jays and other clubs are entering the final stages.
The Blue Jays have been linked in a separate pursuit of San Diego Padres’ outfielder Juan Soto, which could be another route to take. But given their reported meeting with Ohtani on Tuesday in Florida, they could be neck-and-neck with the Dodgers at the top of Ohtani’s list.
In addition to pursuing Shohei Ohtani, the Angels are committed to making the team better
Following the hire of Ron Washington, the Angels look at their roster for the 2024 season with some lukewarm expectations.
The ending of this past regular season was a letdown after going deep at the trade deadline, which resulted in a slow, crushing collapse in the second half. But the addition of Washington brings both enthusiasm and experience to the Angels, which currently lacks a lot of because of the youth on their roster.
Minasian and the front office haven’t yet stray too-far in the rebuild mode, but Ohtani’s decision could change quite a bit of their plans.
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