Yankees could still make a play for superstar Shohei Ohtani next FA class

shohei ohtani, yankees, angels
Jul 29, 2022; Anaheim, California, USA; Los Angeles Angels designated hitter Shohei Ohtani (17) looks up after grounded out in the first inning against the Texas Rangers at Angel Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kiyoshi Mio-USA TODAY Sports

The Yankees will have a lot of talented options to mull over with this next free-agent class, as some of the biggest names are sure to ink big deals. The 2023-24 FA class should be one of the most top-heavy classes in recent history, with the likes of Manny Machado, Matt Chapman, and a slew of outfielders at the top of the heap.

However, none will command the contract like that of Shohei Ohtani, who could be MLB’s first $500M+ man. The two-way superstar is on every team’s wish list, but easier said than done for those wanting to snag his signature for the rest of his career.

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Ohtani to New York — the Bronx or Queens?

The Yankees were among the teams that were very interested in Ohtani when he first came to the MLB, but the Japanese superstar elected to play for the Angels and live on the west coast.

While I don’t think the Yankees are going to be the landing spot for him ultimately, there remains that sliver of hope that he will take his talents to the Bronx.

SNY’s Andy Martino recently talked about it and stated that with Arte Moreno’s decision to hold steadfast on the team and not sell, that that pretty much seals the fate that Ohtani will be going elsewhere. Though, he also noted that the Angels likely won’t deal Ohtani during the year unless they get a phenomenal package for him.

“As with the Mets, a trade to the Yanks seems highly unlikely. For what it’s worth, both New York teams talked to the Angels about Ohtani last year and didn’t get anywhere close to an agreement. The best chance for Ohtani to land in New York, then, is through free agency — not a shocking conclusion, but one reinforced by this week’s news [Moreno keeping the team]

SNY’s Andy Martino

The Yankees certainly should do everything they can to bring Ohtani to New York, and both the Yanks and Mets have the means to do so, thanks to their lofty pockets and wealth. The Yankees are the most valuable MLB franchise in the league, and by some margin, as they’re valued at roughly $6 billion, as per a Forbes report from March. Additionally, both the Mets and Yankees were trying everything to pull Ohtani out of Anaheim, as Martino noted this, stating:

According to sources, Cohen has already been talking openly to upper-level Mets people about going after Ohtani this winter. The Yankees were fairly aggressive in their exploration of a trade for Ohtani last July, so they can’t be ruled out.

Andy Martino

Though the Yankees may not be the ultimate landing spot for Ohtani, why not get a bit excited over the potential prospect of a Judge-Ohtani 1-2 punch? It would break baseball, draw in more fans and viewership than ever before, and would put the two biggest names in baseball batting back-to-back. Ohtani is a true unicorn in the league today, and there likely won’t ever be another player quite like him.

Ohtani is truly one-of-a-kind, or I guess, two of a kind:

Last year he was fantastic on the bump, as he tossed 166.0 innings with a 2.33 ERA & 2.40 FIP. He also wasn’t a “game manager” type of pitcher either, as he got swings-and-misses with the best of them whilst not making nearly any mistakes. He posted a 11.87 K/9, with just a 2.39 BB/9 (good for a 4.98 K/BB ratio), and also only surrendered a measly 0.76 HR/9 (just a 9.3% HR/FB%).

On the offensive side of things, he was electric as a DH and truly brought two players’ worth of value in one. He clubbed 34 HR, with a 142 wRC+, stole a dozen bases, and walked 10.8% of the time. He was basically Mookie Betts-level of offensive value (35 HR & a 144 wRC+), paired with, say, Dylan Cease when on the bump. He is the best overall player in baseball, and if not for Judge breaking records and carrying the Yankees to the postseason, he would’ve won back-to-back MVP awards.

The Yankees should do everything they can to bring him to New York and sway his mindset from loving the west coast in order to put together a true ‘Evil Empire.’ Imagine, Judge-Ohtani-Stanton-Rizzo in the middle of the lineup, with DJ leading off and Gleyber batting fifth. It would be utter destruction and devastation, stuff of legend.