Yankees could miss out on super-star dual threat in free agency

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

The New York Yankees face an intriguing off-season, and whispers abound about potential shifts in the front office. Their spending might in free agency could be tempered, which might see them stepping away from the high-profile Shohei Ohtani chase.

Nonetheless, as winter approaches, the rumor mill will inevitably churn, connecting the Yankees to Ohtani. Yet, according to insiders, the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Mets are more probable contenders for the two-way superstar.

The Yankees May Step to the Side

Baseball analyst Ken Rosenthal, associated with The Athletic, shared on the Foul Territory podcast that the Dodgers appear to be leading the race for Ohtani. However, Rosenthal also spotlighted teams like the San Francisco Giants, Texas Rangers, and the Seattle Mariners as credible contenders. Conspicuously missing from his list was the New York Yankees, a team that might be wise to steer clear of players recovering from significant injuries, considering Ohtani’s impending Tommy John surgery rehab.

Rosenthal opined, “The Dodgers have been the favorite for a long time, or at least a team we thought would definitely be in the mix. I cannot rule out the Mets. I cannot see Steve Cohen simply passing on Shohei Ohtani.”

Ohtani’s Unquestionable Value

At the age of 29, Ohtani is fresh from an MVP-worthy season. In a span of 135 games, he boasted stats like a .304 batting average, a .412 OBP, 44 homers, 95 RBIs, and an impressive 179 wRC+. Given the Los Angeles Angels’ struggles to create a robust team around him, the chances of Ohtani’s return, even with an enticing paycheck, seem slim.

His track record, with 158 games in 2021 and 157 in 2022, and never pitching less than 130 innings since 2020, dispels any “injury-prone” tags. Yet, the Yankees should tread carefully, especially if they consider jumping into the fray. With teams like the Dodgers and Mets in pursuit, Ohtani’s contract could soar past $450 million. This Japanese sensation, potentially one of the most exceptional talents baseball has witnessed, ensures not just performance but also full houses.

While the Yankees have the deep pockets of owner Hal Steinbrenner, their focus seems to be on rebuilding after a disappointing 2023 campaign. There’s widespread speculation that Ohtani has a soft spot for the West Coast, with its more temperate climate.

New York’s demanding atmosphere may not suit everyone’s palate, and Ohtani, having weathered challenges with the Angels, might prioritize a smoother transition to a championship-ready team. With his future contract poised to shatter records, Ohtani’s next move remains one of baseball’s most awaited decisions.

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