Why the Yankees should avoid signing Shohei Ohtani

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The New York Yankees, after missing the playoffs in a disappointing 2023 MLB season, have a lot of questions to answer this offseason. One of the main targets for the pinstripes this offseason is the top player on the market, Shohei Ohtani.

There is a debate surrounding his potential move to the New York Yankees, and I previously wrote a piece regarding why the Yankees should sign Shohei Ohtani to the team.

Signing Ohtani will take them out of other bidding wars with other free agents like Juan Soto

It’s evident that, after the disappointing season the Yankees had, they will need to make a significant splash in free agency. However, their budget constraints mean they can only afford one massive contract, despite having various other needs, particularly in their pitching rotation.

The big splash might come down to a choice between Shohei Ohtani and Juan Soto, with the team engaged in a bidding war for both. Since Soto is likely to command a larger deal, it’s improbable that the Yankees will be able to afford both players with significant contracts. Therefore, they will have to choose their investments wisely and determine whether signing Ohtani for a substantial amount will prevent them from engaging in other bidding wars for players.

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Ohtani contract could also financially hurt the Yankees’ payroll with another bad contract

There are always significant risks associated with any contract being signed. There’s a possibility that a contract could backfire for an organization, potentially causing financial harm to the franchise for an extended period. Just look at how the Jacoby Ellsbury saga unfolded for the Yankees as a prime example and how his awful contract turned out. It was so bad to the point where the franchise threw Ellsbury under the bus.

While the Yankees are a big-budget team, too many bad contracts will add up. The Yankees already have a brutal contract paying Giancarlo Stanton, Carlos Rodon, and potentially D.J. LeMahieu (he showed signs of decline last season, but finished strong). When Ohtani gets signed he is going to get a gigantic contract and if he declines it could be a brutal contract to pay for the many years the deal will get.

Ohtani might not be the same player since tearing his UCL.

The big concern regarding Ohtani is his injury history. Injuries are certainly a significant issue for any player, and a severe injury can have devastating consequences. Last season, Ohtani suffered a torn UCL, which was a career-threatening injury that ended his season as a pitcher.

That is not the only injury as Ohtani even suffered an oblique injury as well which ultimately ended his season as a designated hitter.

Both injuries have a history of derailing the careers of certain athletes in baseball. The same could happen to Ohtani, and it’s important to recognize that these injuries will likely have an impact on his performance in 2024. It’s doubtful that Ohtani will be healthy enough to pitch in the 2024 MLB season, and there’s uncertainty about whether he’ll be the same hitter with that oblique injury.

Only time will tell, but there is a significant risk that the Yankees might not get the Ohtani of old and could potentially acquire a player who is a shadow of his former self. Hopefully, this won’t be the case because Ohtani is incredibly talented, but it’s a possibility that can’t be ruled out.