Free agency is barely 72 hours away, but one name has generated more buzz at general manager meetings than any other: Shohei Ohtani.
The teams hoping to land the presumptive American League MVP are well documented, with the Dodgers, Giants, Mets, Red Sox, Angels, Mariners, Rangers and Cubs among Ohtaniand#039’s top contenders. this offseason.
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With executives from all 30 clubs gathered for meetings in Scottsdale, it seemed like a good opportunity to take an informal poll asking where they think Ohtani will end up and how they see him playing in free agency.
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Not surprisingly, the Dodgers were the overwhelming choice among executives: 10 of the 14 decision makers who participated said they believed the Angels superstar would end up 30 miles north on I-5.andquot;Like everyone else, I think he will end up in Los Angeles, but with a different team,andquot; said one National League leader. andquot;When bouncers fall in love with a man and they did what they seem to do, and#039; always your friends I would be surprised if he didn’t andquot;
The four executives who didn’t pick the Dodgers didn’t discount Los Angeles’ chances of signing the three-time All-Star, but declined to comment on the unprecedented nature of his free agency — especially after the recent Tommy John. surgery will prevent him from taking the field in 2024. andquot;I really don’t know,andquot; another former NL manager said. andquot;I had my opinion before he got hurt and I don’t know where the head is going or what the deal is going to look like because of the injury. You can tell me he’s going to get $300 million or $800 million and I’ll say, and#039;Okay, I can see that.andquot; It will be exciting.
“He’s such a unique talent that nothing would surprise me,” the AL manager said. One NL executive who picked the Dodgers believes their biggest competition will come not from another West Coast team, but from a team that made headlines for their managers this week. “He doesn’t seem to channel money, so I don’t think it’s just a dollar,” the NL manager said. “I think it suits him. I think the Cubs will take it hard for him.”
Another NL catcher believes the Mets could be the biggest threat to the Dodgers because owner Steve Cohen can outrun anyone. “If Steve Cohen wakes up one morning and decides he wants her, maybe she’ll end up in New York,” the manager said. andquot;I don’t know the guy well enough to know if this is the last dollar or a good situation. If it’s the last dollar, maybe that opens it up a little more.”
Regardless of what aspect of Ohtani’s deal ends up — and nearly every executive we spoke to believes he will get $500 million — his power in the form of sponsorships, ticket sales and other revenue opportunities will have many clubs considering a move. . their hats in the ring.
“His marketability is insane; he’s as famous a baseball player as there is in the whole world,” the AL manager said. “What does that mean? What is it worth? Goodness#039; is the only person who can meaningfully create that value outside the sphere.”
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“There will be competition that will drive the price up,” said another AL executive. andquot;Before the injury, I was like and#039;How are you not going to pay 700 million dollars for him?and#039; I know he’s one guy and it’s hard to navigate, but I still don’t think he’ll make it. Heand has no shortage of suitors.