If you had to sum up the MLB’s free agency, it would be the Giancarlo Stanton trade and teams trying to sign Shohei Ohtani. Ohtani has played overseas in the Japan league and has established himself as a superstar. Ohtani presents a powerful bat as an outfielder but also is a dominant starting pitcher as well, drawing the comparisons to Babe Ruth. He has narrowed the list of teams he would sign with down to seven teams and here’s how he could fit with each of them.
Chicago Cubs: Ohtani would add to the juggernaut of young position players in Chicago. This franchise is ready to win and they are one ace away from thinking about the World Series again. Jason Heyward is shifting to center field, perfectly allowing Ohtani to play right field on his non-pitching days. If Ohtani signed with the Cubs, just imagine the lineup they could have.
Los Angeles Dodgers: Los Angeles brings a familiar culture to Ohtani, as it has the largest Japanese-American community in the United States. The weather there is nice, this team is already loaded, and were in the World Series last year. One thing the Dodgers present over any other team is the opportunity to play for one of the best teams in the MLB and pitch alongside the best pitcher in the game, Clayton Kershaw.
San Diego Padres: New York’s general manager Brian Cashman said that the Yankees didn’t have a chance because they were a big market team. Ohtani preferred a smaller market team. The San Diego Padres can offer that, the weather is still great, and the ballpark is top of the line. Also, if he joined the Padres, he might be the biggest star there.
San Francisco Giants: Another West Coast team, but they had the worst outfield production in the league last year. Ohtani is provided the opportunity to impact the team right from day one. Also, it was recently reported that he prefers a team with another Japanese pitcher, which the Giants have with Kenta Maeda.
Los Angeles Angels: The other team in Los Angeles, but this situation adds more versatility for Ohtani to be a two-way player. In the American League, Ohtani can be in the lineup as a designated hitter, but there’s a problem. That spot is usually taken by the slugger Albert Pujols. The Angels have some lineup adjustment to make if he signs, but if he does, that could present an outfield with him alongside Mike Trout.
Seattle Mariners: The Mariners probably want Ohtani more than any other team, using the previous year to prepare a presentation to him. Seattle’s general manager, Jerry Dipoto, announced that they would move Nelson Cruz to the outfield so that Ohtani could bat in the DH slot. Also, the Mariners have had at least one Japanese player on their roster since 1998.
Texas Rangers: The Rangers have been following Ohtani since he was 18 years old and still in high school. They can rotate Ohtani to the DH slot, desperately need help in their rotation, and have the most bonus money to spend on him. They can offer him a $3.535 million bonus just to sign his name on the dotted line.