The Texas Rangers are emerging as a strong favorite to sign free agent Shohei Ohtani. Ohtani’s most important criteria for choosing a team is “the ability to win a championship”.
“The Rangers weren’t a serious contender to acquire the best player in the game from their AL West rivals (Los Angeles Angels) at the start of the season, but that has changed,” Sports Illustrated (SI) reported on Sept. 15. “Texas is a World Series champion with a potent offense, thanks in large part to its owner’s willingness to invest heavily over the past two years to win.토토사이트
While the Los Angeles Dodgers are the favorite to land Ohtani, it appears Texas is playing catch-up.
Texas Rangers’ Corey Seager celebrates with the trophy after being named MVP of the World Series after winning the title on Sunday. USATODAYYonline
▶Texas attracts winners
Texas has spent a whopping $847.85 million in free agency over the past two years.
After the 2021 season, they signed seven free agents for a combined $580.7 million, including outfielder Corey Seager (10 years, $325 million), shortstop Marcus Simien (seven years, $175 million), starting pitcher Jon Gray (four years, $56 million) and infielder Brad Miller (two years, $10 million). It’s a franchise record for a single offseason investment.
Then, last winter, the team brought back six players for $267.15 million, including starters Jacob deGrom (six years, $185 million), Nathan Eovaldi (two years, $34 million) and Andrew Heaney (two years, $25 million). Two years ago, the focus was on bolstering the batting order and defense; a year ago, it was on the starting mound.
This winter, the investments continue. The “number one” target is Ohtani. When it comes to the kind of winning organization that Ohtani wants, there’s no better fit than Texas.
Los Angeles Angels’ Shohei Ohtani poses for a photo after being named team MVP on Oct. 1. AFP Yonhap
Message to Ohtani
On Oct. 14, CBS Sports reported, “Ohtani doesn’t care about geography. Instead, he will prioritize a competitive team that can give him a chance to play in the playoffs.
ESPN named Texas as a dark horse, noting that “Texas is not only the 2023 World Series champion, but has shown interest in Ohtani since he played in Japan.
Texas was one of seven teams on the short list when we posted about Ohtani in December 2017. When news broke that Ohtani had signed with the Los Angeles Angels, Texas immediately issued a press release publicly expressing its disappointment and waiting for a “later date.
“We are very disappointed that Ohtani was not selected, but we sincerely wish him well in Anaheim. He was very impressive to us on and off the field, but if he had asked our opinion (before signing), we would have recommended the NL.”
Ohtani publicly exited the market earlier in the day, rejecting a qualifying offer from the Angels. Any team is now free to negotiate with him. Expect more news about Ohtani in the coming days. Because of his unprecedented style and free agency in Major League Baseball history, there is a huge demand from fans for news about Ohtani.
Ohtani has never played in the postseason with the Los Angeles Angels. AP
Ohtani, who underwent elbow surgery in September, will be limited to a designated hitter next season. AP
▶Free agent Ohtani news here
In response to the news, Major League Baseball’s website, MLB.com, has created a separate section on its homepage dedicated to Ohtani. MLB.com titled the section “Where will Shohei Ohtani sign?” with a picture of Ohtani. The site also features news and rumors related to Ohtani in order of most recent.
It’s very unusual for MLB.com to have a section dedicated to a single free agent.
The most recent news is a story titled “Ohtani could be open to a short-term deal” that was published on April 14. ESPN’s Alden Gonzalez was quoted as saying, “According to a person with knowledge of Ohtani, he is open to a contract with a higher average annual value (AAV) and a shorter term. If that happens, more teams could jump into the fray to sign him.
Max Scherzer of the Texas Rangers leads the category with a $43.3 million average annual value. Ohtani could very well break that record. Associated Press
MLB.com wrote, “Ohtani’s decision to reject the qualifying offer was an easy one. Ohtani, who is expected to receive a contract worth more than $500 million, hasn’t played in the postseason in six years with the Angels. While the Angels will fight to re-sign him, Ohtani is expected to land elsewhere, most likely with the Dodgers, Rangers, Braves, Cubs, Mets, Giants, or Red Sox.
The team that acquires Ohtani would have to give the Angels a guaranteed third- or fourth-round pick in next year’s draft.