With the Winter Meetings underway in Nashville, the volume is being turned up to deafening levels on all the rumors and reports. The loudest of those surround Shohei Ohtani, which is ironic because the man himself isn’t saying a thing. But with a looming decision expected to come any day now on his next team, the echoes of his announcement will reverberate throughout the sport.
The Dodgers have long been favored in the race, but Blue Jays fans have activated to a great degree behind reports that Toronto is among the finalists. The Cubs remain in the hunt, along with the Giants and perhaps even the Angels, but there’s another dark horse that may have been one of the mystery teams in earlier reports.
“Clearly, Shohei Ohtani is the talk of these Winter Meetings,” Jon Morosi said Monday on MLB Network. “I was told in the last 24 hours that it’s increasingly possible he will make his choice within the next week. And one team that I think we have not been giving enough attention to in all of this: The Atlanta Braves. And Shohei in looking at his options, he has prioritized teams that have a chance to win sustainably…
“And the Braves, I’m told, have had some conversations with Ohtani’s camp. The Braves have not been eliminated from this conversation. So at the very least, the Braves have as good of a chance as the Cubs or the Blue Jays or many other of the non-Dodgers teams that we’ve talked about this offseason.”
Morosi went on to confirm that geography isn’t much of a consideration now that Ohtani has been in the US for several years and has built a global brand.
I don’t even want to think of that Braves lineup with Ohtani added to the mix, especially since they’ve already got so many players locked up well into the future. That should certainly appeal to someone who is prioritizing a consistently competitive team, though I’m not sure how much of this report is legit and how much is just a product of timing.
The Braves could be trying to gain leverage on other fronts while Ohtani’s camp might want to keep as many teams in the mix as possible. At the same time, agent Nez Balelo has remained silent and has asked the same of potential suitors. Having something like this out there so publicly doesn’t seem to reflect well on the Braves’ discretion, but that only matters if they’re serious about Ohtani.
One thing I can say for sure about this latest update is that any developments are good for clicks and shares and hype, so you can bet there will be a whole lot more coming out of Nashville this week.