shohei ohtani
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We’re only about two weeks away from pitchers and catchers reporting for 2023 Spring Training in Florida and Arizona. But that’s not stopping people from thinking and wondering about Shohei Ohtani and his fascinating trip to free agency next winter.

Based on what we’ve seen the last few days, this is going to feel like the saga between Carlos Correa and the Mets. You remember, right? How there was no actual news regarding their contract agreement, but MLB insiders shared what felt like recycled reports and presented it as new information?

Yea, it’s going to get ridiculous pretty fast. Take this article from Jon Heyman of the New York Post that was published Monday night. Let’s start with the headline:

Steve Cohen expected to have Mets in thick of Shohei Ohtani bidding

Oh, yea? That’s brand-new information (insert sarcasm here). We already knew this because SNY’s Andy Martino said it last week. After all, Cohen is rumored to already be talking about an Ohtani pursuit with upper-level Mets people.

One interesting quote from Heyman’s article included the following:

The Mets will make Ohtani the best-paid player in the history of sports — whether he plays for the Mets or not — because the offer will be insane. And if someone else wants to beat it go ahead.

That certainly raises an eyebrow, but then again, is this shocking? No! Not at all. Cohen is MLB’s richest owner, just made a boatload of money at his hedge fund company in 2022, and covets Ohtani. With the Mets on the East Coast potentially being the biggest drawback, of course New York will try to entice him with a huge offer. Who wouldn’t if they had the ability to?

What really gets me is the following two things. First, Heyman texted Cohen about the Ohtani rumors, to which he got this predictable response:

Hard to think about next year. I’m focused on this season.

It’s good that Heyman reached out — that’s what a journalist should do. But come on, this is kind of a ridiculous thing to ask. Especially after MLB had to do a short investigation between the Mets and Yankees about potential Aaron Judge tampering.

The second thing is Cohen planning a trip to Japan. Here’s what was said in the article:

Anyway, it’s no surprise folks behind the scenes are gossiping again about the possibility once word got out that Cohen has a trip to Japan planned, never mind that it’s too early to contact potential free agents and Ohtani is already in the U.S. Just in case, I checked, and Cohen clarified that he’s meeting in Kyoto with his staff, which is about his day job, and not related to Ohtani. 

Again, this is just ridiculous. Sure, Cohen appears to love Shohei Ohtani and may do everything possible to sign him. But he’s not going to clearly and publicly break the rules to try and get an edge. The fact that this question has to be asked is unreal.

If this is the type of stuff being reported now, I don’t even want to know what will happen at the trade deadline and leading up to free agency. We’ll try our best to sift through all the noise to provide actual updates. It looks like that will be a herculean effort, though.

Matt Musico can be reached at and you can follow him on Twitter: @mmusico8.

Matt Musico is an editor for ESNY. He’s been writing about baseball and the Mets for the past decade. His work has been featured on numberFire, MetsMerized Online, Bleacher Report, and Yahoo! Sports.