Yankees could have eyes on superstar dual-threat, but it’s a risk

Los Angeles Angels designated hitter Shohei Ohtani  (New York Yankees)
Kyle Ross-USA TODAY Sports

With one week of the offseason underway, the New York Yankees will certainly have their eyes on some of the game’s most notable free agents, including two-way star Shohei Ohtani.

Yankees listed as suitors for Shohei Ohtani

USA Today’s Bob Nightengale revealed a list of potential suitors for Ohtani, with the Yankees, Dodgers, Red Sox, and Padres among the plethora of teams on the list.

Ohtani’s free agency is expected to be one of if not the biggest bidding wars in the history of American sports. His abilities as a player are like no other, as he hit a league-leading 44 home runs while pitching to a 3.14 ERA in 23 starts for the Angels in 2023, and is surely on his way to winning his second AL MVP award in three seasons.

For the Yankees, adding Ohtani via free agency would instantly catapult them back into title contention for the foreseeable future, as they would essentially be adding their best left-handed hitter and an ace-level starter in one player.

Injuries are a concern for Ohtani

However, Ohtani will not be able to pitch in 2024 after undergoing elbow surgery in late September, which is now the second time in his major league career he has undergone significant elbow surgery (he had Tommy John surgery in 2018).

While he will still be able to play as a hitter in 2024, his true value as a player is his ability to both pitch and hit at a high level. If he continues to experience injuries as a result of pitching, he could be subject to becoming a hitter-only player in the later stages of his career, which could make any potential record-setting contract an albatross.

There is also no guarantee that Ohtani will continue to produce the same results he has put on display throughout his career, especially if the injury bug continues to bite him.

The last thing the Yankees need is to find themselves in another situation similar to Giancarlo Stanton’s massive contract, as committing to one player for potentially over a decade always comes with its risks. However, with Ohtani, it could be a risk that is worth taking, as players of his caliber don’t grow on trees.

How the Yankees will approach the hectic Ohtani market remains to be seen, but look for them to be major players in an all-out bidding war.

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