With Japanese superstar Shohei Ohtani set to make his move to MLB, the New York Mets should be preparing their sales pitch.
Let the games begin—at least the offseason games, that is. The biggest competition of the 2017-18 offseason is quickly becoming the Shohei Ohtani sweepstakes.
The Japanese dual-threat was recently granted the ability to sign with an MLB team this winter, and apparently, he plans to hear each team’s case for why he should bring his services to their organization.
— NY Daily News Sports (@NYDNSports) November 26, 2017
Of note from this report from the New York Daily News‘ Peter Botte is that Ohtani wants every interested team to explain, in writing, “how Ohtani would fit into each organization…and what makes the team attractive.”
Naturally, since the Mets—and more specifically, general manager Sandy Alderson—have already expressed interest in Ohtani, they will be preparing their pitch to send to the 23-year-old.
But what will be in that pitch? What are the areas that Alderson can highlight when attempting to entice Ohtani to don the blue and orange?
We may never know what Alderson and his team choose to discuss when they put pen to paper, but we can speculate and highlight some of the incentives the Mets can provide Ohtani.
Off the Field
Ohtani is leaving millions of dollars on the table by making this move now, instead of in two years. That fact coupled with his desire to hear every team’s pitch should obviously point to the fact that he does not care much about his salary.
However, that does not mean he lacks an interest in endorsement money. The Mets are not the Yankees, but their players, most notably their pitchers, have been relevant in the media over the last few years.
Maybe Ohtani is not interested in naked photos, insurance, and a popular HBO series, but the fact of the matter is that Mets players can and have been relevant in the world’s biggest media market. There’s no reason he couldn’t join them.
The pulse of the Mets should be their most front-and-center tool for acquiring Ohtani. The Mets starting rotation has all the talent in the world and adding a 23-year-old that has topped out at 102 MPH sounds unfair.
That’s assuming the rotation can stay healthy. But right now that’s beside the point, Alderson needs to be pushing the talent that his starting staff possesses and the idea that Ohtani is the missing piece.
Syndergaard, Harvey, deGrom, Steven Matz, and Ohtani would solidify the Mets rotation as the most talented in the league. The Mets know all about hard-throwing right-handers, and Ohtani fits right into that mold.
There’s no other rotation in the world that would offer Otani the chance to succeed and learn with such talented peers. The question is, does he believe in the Mets rotation?
Ohtani sitting at the table with these four just seems right. Hopefully, the Mets can make him see it that way as well.
New York instantly gives the Mets an advantage only one other team possesses. The multicultural city has been home to many superstars throughout sports history.
The Mets have an extremely loyal fan base in the biggest market in the world. The marketing opportunities are endless, and the fandom as well.
All of these perks add up to create a pretty enticing package for Ohtani. If Sandy uses the city, rotation, and off-field marketing possibilities as ammunition, the Mets could find themselves as relevant bidders in the Ohtani sweepstakes.