Report: Mets have turned their attention away from Shohei Ohtani
The Mets were long believed to be a suitor for the two-way superstar, but they're looking beyond this winter's prized free agent
It would appear Shohei Ohtani might be turning into a former future Met.
In a report for ESPN on Friday, Jeff Passan said the Mets have shifted gears and turned their attention away from two-way superstar free agent Shohei Ohtani and instead towards other players in the market.
The Texas Rangers, Boston Red Sox and New York Mets, who were among the initial group of suitors, have turned their attention to other players,” Passan explained.
Ohtani could be seeking a deal upwards of $600 million over the life of the contract, according to Passan.
As the off-season has entered the early stages it became clear there were a number of challenges getting in the way of a marriage between the Mets and Ohtani. It’s not money or the qualifying offer - Ohtani is the exception to any financial or prospect building philosophy any club should have since it’s unlikely any one, two or three players combined would equate to the value and allure Ohtani brings to a team.
The first issue is the Mets are not a “one player away” team right now with Ohtani serving as a potential last piece towards a championship drive in 2024. The Mets need and presumably still want Ohtani, but they also would still have the same needs in the rotation (remember - he won’t pitch at all in 2024) and the same needs in the bullpen if they acquired him (not so much offensively, of course).
It’s also worth noting that it’s unclear and fair to question how much Ohtani will pitch again. By the time he is able at the start of the 2025 season, he will be almost 31 having underwent two Tommy John Surgeries all before turning 30.
That’s not to say Ohtani won’t ever pitch again, but at the salary he’s about to command, his future club should be very protective and risk averse, and there’s only so much more time he can continue to work as a two-way player anyway, presumably.
And for the Mets, their needs at the top of their rotation are immediate, not just in 2025.
The other issue could very well be geographic, as the bulk of the teams reportedly still in the mix aren’t on the east coast with the exception of the Blue Jays and he, according to Jon Heyman of the New York Post, loves Southern California which could make the Dodgers or Angels favorites by default (I’d bet on the Dodgers between the two myself).
I don’t think this means the Mets are totally out on Ohtani. I wouldn’t even completely rule out the Yankees right now, either. With a player like this, nothing is done until the ink has dried on his new contract, especially with these two financial monsters in New York. Weird things tend to happen at the Winter Meetings, which begin in about 48 hours in Nashville, and the Mets can easily outbid everyone in the field if Ohtani were to be genuinely interested in joining the club (and less so in using them to drive up his price).
Right now, the Mets appear to be squarely focused on the calculus for their pitching staff, and finding two other top shelf starters for their rotation while figuring out how to get the ball to Edwin Díaz in the ninth inning. It remains to be seen how the Yoshinobu Yamamoto market is going to play out, whether or not Jordan Montgomery (who the Mets have been very connected to) or Blake Snell will wait for Yamamoto to sign first, and what the Mets are even thinking regarding a swing-and-miss solution for the seventh and eighth innings.
As a fan, of course I would love for the Mets to have Ohtani. He might be the best player ever, the marketing possibilities for the club would be endless, he’s one of the most fascinating players of all-time, he’s unquestionably going to go to the Hall of Fame, and he would turn the Mets into a destination franchise.
He’s also really fun to watch, I should mention. And I’m sure Steve Cohen and David Stearns would agree when they take their shirts and ties off and put on their Met tees.
But the barriers are undeniable right now and the Mets clearly recognize this might be more complicated for them than it is for other clubs.