Shohei Ohtani done for the year, let the sweepstakes begin


After a player dons a Los Angeles Angels uniform, it’s easy to picture him in any team’s colors. It’s a mercenary’s stopping ground, a place to get money, live in L.A., and soak up the pro ball lifestyle while not having to worry about winning or expectations. That’s why every coastal elite club should throw gobs of cash at Shohei Ohtani.

He already made one business decision by going to the Angels, and there’s little reason to believe that savvy has dissipated with the way he’s operating.

Yes, he wants to win, but if there was a glimmer of hope for the delusional Angel franchise, it was snuffed out Friday night when the pitcher/power hitter cleaned out his locker. The team declined to address it, saying they’ll provide an update today, and unless it’s “We’re selling the team because we are unequivocally bad at this,” nothing in the announcement will surprise baseball fans or media members.

Update: The Los Angeles Angels confirmed what Shohei Ohtani foreshadowed Friday night as the club announced he’s going to the IL. The two-way superstar is a free agent after the World Series, and he’s now played his last game for the Angels this year, and possible ever.

So instead of fileting the front office yet again, let’s talk about reasons not to break the bank for Ohtani, and I can’t think of one outside of injury. If I’m the Red Sox, Mets, Giants, Dodgers, Yankees, Mariners, Padres, Nationals, Phillies — literally any team in a major market on a coast — I’m offering close to a billion and seeing who blinks first. That’s what the Saudis do, and it’s proven pretty effective thus far.

The one thing fans know for certain about Ohtani the human being is that he is human (we think), and the temptation of tractor-trailers full of cash — that doesn’t have to be laundered — has to be near impossible to turn down. Once a person tastes that kind of money, they seem to only want more of it.

Any organization, even the Mets, is an upgrade from a winning standpoint, and I don’t think Ohtani is going to take a discount at all. He played for the Angels for god’s sake; he can be swayed by riches, a big market, and the promise of on-field success.

(I also wouldn’t bring him in without having a deep pitching staff, or a contingency plan, because that part of Ohtani’s game risks his bat. Maybe enact a monthly innings count? Something.)

Another reason why it’s easy to envision Ohtani on a litany of clubs is because photoshopping players into your teams’ threads has become a pastime on Instagram. I can’t speak to how effective it is, but a few of those images have to seep into fans’ subconsciouses, right?

This will be the biggest bidding war since Bryce Harper, and Ohtani’s payday is going to make that $300 million deal look quaint. You could argue Aaron Judge’s courtship a season ago, but he was destined to stay in New York, and it’s inevitable that Ohtani leaves the Angels.

If the L.A. front office wasn’t asking Mike Trout to ask out, so they can be free of guilt for trading him, I’d suggest they offer Ohtani $1 billion, and see what happens. While I’m being liberal with these owners’ finances, a story this week laid out why more and more private equities are investing in pro sports teams (Spoiler: It’s because major teams rarely, if ever, drop in value), and the contracts are only going to keep rising as a result.

Some analytics/tech bro probably already has an algorithm that calculates potential value added by a player, and once he inserts Ohtani’s numbers into the computer, the machine is going to break. Teams are going to be throwing out bids like Ohtani is Phil Connors at the eligible bachelor auction. Just pure lust, or love, by a bunch of guys with heaps of money, and the discipline of the best free agent of this century, maybe ever, is sure to be tested.



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