Shohei Ohtani, 29, is the top prospect in this year’s Major League Baseball (MLB) Stovepipe. The number of teams in the running for him may be dwindling, but the bidding war is about to begin in earnest.
“The Texas Rangers, Boston Red Sox and New York Mets, who were interested in Ohtani at the start of the market, have turned their attention to other players,” ESPN reported today.

All three are big-market teams that can afford to spend big. Texas, this year’s World Series champions, are familiar territory for Ohtani, who played in the American League West with the Los Angeles Angels. Late last month, Texas veteran Max Scherzer went on a radio show and said, “Money’s great, but winning’s better,” in a bid to woo Ohtani.

Boston and the Mets were at a disadvantage in that they were not Otani’s favorite teams in the American East. But Boston, a traditional favorite, and the Mets, whose owner, Steve Cohen, has been opening up his wallet in the 2020s, could have afforded him. However, the three teams decided to stay out of the bidding for Ohtani.

It’s unclear why, but it’s likely due to the prospect of overheated competition for Ohtani despite his injury. Ohtani is getting special treatment in free agency this year. In’s mid-month rankings of free agents, Ohtani was the only player listed in the first tier. He batted .304 with 44 home runs, 95 RBI, 102 runs scored, 20 doubles, a .412 on-base percentage, a .654 slugging percentage and a 1.066 OPS in 135 games as a hitter this season, and went 10-5 with a 3.14 ERA and 167 strikeouts in 132 innings as a pitcher in 23 games. His Wins Above Replacement (WAR) ranked first in the majors according to both FanGraphs (9.0) and Baseball-Reference (10.0). This was despite a season-ending tear of the medial collateral ligament (UCL) in his right elbow. As a result, he was named the unanimous American League MVP for the second time in 2021.

It’s also positive to note that his two-way game has steadily matured since reaching the big leagues in 2018. At the plate, he’s consistently been a threat to hit for power, and this year he broke the triple digits and OPS over 1 for the first time in his big league career. On the mound, after struggling in his first three years (2018-2020), he bounced back last year with 15 wins and a 2.33 ERA. This year, he failed to make it to the postseason due to injury, but still managed to reach the 10-win plateau. A team acquiring Ohtani could get 15 wins and a 40-homer hitter at the same time. 보스토토

As a result, Ohtani’s asking price is likely to rise. “One source said Ohtani’s price tag could reach $600 million,” ESPN reported, “and whatever the outcome, it would surpass the record of $426.5 million set by Mike Trout with the Los Angeles Angels in 2019.”

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