Sorry, Mets fans, but reigning AL MVP and two-way star free agent Shohei Ohtani isn’t coming to Flushing.
ESPN’s Jeff Passan released his Winter Meetings preview and confirmed that New York is one of three teams out on Ohtani. The Boston Red Sox and World Series champion Texas Rangers have also shifted their focus to other free agents.
Ohtani has spent his entire career with the Angels and is a global sensation for his two-way skills. He just won his second MVP trophy after batting .304 with an AL-best 44 home runs and even 20 steals. Ohtani then added a 10-5 record and 3.14 ERA in 23 starts, and the righty also owns a 3.01 ERA for his career.
Of course, the rebuilding Mets were never in on Ohtani. Forget Steve Cohen’s bottomless wallet for a second. Even he has to realize it doesn’t make sense to pursue Shohei Ohtani, who may sign for upwards of $500 million this winter.
Not to mention that the Mets’ other financial commitments. Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander each signed big free agent contracts with New York the last two offseasons. The Mets are paying their remaining salaries after trading both last summer.
It’s more likely the team joins their crosstown rival Yankees in the race for international free agent Yoshinobu Yamamoto. Jon Heyman at the Post reports the Mets are viewed as the favorites to land the Japanese ace. Yamamoto is still only 25 and just posted a legendary 1.16 ERA for the Orix Buffaloes.
Additionally, Yamamoto and Shohei Ohtani were teammates in the last World Baseball Classic and helped Japan win it all.
Also, let’s not forget that Ohtani has never been one for the east coast. He only negotiated with west coast teams when he arrived in MLB five years ago. It’s almost shocking the Dodgers haven’t signed him yet, even after his second Tommy John surgery.
In the meantime, Shohei Ohtani’s free agency saga continues.