In the midst of the Mets’ trade-deadline sell-off, a huge talking point was when they were planning on being competitive again. Max Scherzer was told it wouldn’t be until 2025 or even 2026. So, many assumed that meant pursuing Shohei Ohtani this winter was completely off the table.
If you were one of the people who made that assumption, prepare to be surprised.
In a recent article for The Athletic, Ken Rosenthal talked about the Mets’ vision for the future. He said a lot of the same things we’ve also been saying. No, New York isn’t going to tank in 2024. While going after Ohtani seems like a stretch (especially now), it’s not like they won’t supplement the roster via free agency.
This isn’t the Wilpons’ show anymore, ya know. It’s Steve Cohen’s world, and this man is competitive. New York may not have the same expectations as we saw heading into 2023, but that doesn’t mean they won’t try to put a winning team on the field.
It’s not a “See ya in 2026” scenario, which is a narrative some are trying to run with.
We recently talked about NPB ace Yoshinobu Yamamoto and how he could fit into the Mets’ long-term plans of being a sustainable contender. Rosenthal agrees that Yamamoto is an intriguing option for the Amazins. But what about Ohtani? Would they just let him sign elsewhere without putting up a fight?
Not a chance, says Rosenthal:
If anyone thinks Cohen is going to pass on an opportunity to pursue the greatest player of our generation and maybe greatest of all time, they haven’t been paying attention. Ohtani’s value exceeds what he does on the field, which is pretty damn valuable. But no one knows what he truly wants, so he easily could sign with another club.
Once again, this is what I was expecting, too. With the Cohens owning the Mets, anything is possible, regardless of what we’ve heard said recently. They’re now the type of team that will always check in on most big free agents, even if it doesn’t make total sense. It’s not like they won’t at least do their due diligence and chat with Ohtani’s camp before he makes a decision.
It seems unlikely that Shohei Ohtani would come to the Mets, but this is a self-fulfilling prophecy. You know what you’re going to get if you don’t try. We can safely assume the Mets will at least toss their proverbial hat in the ring. And we’ll see what happens from there.