Perhaps the biggest story of the offseason is the story of Shohei Ohtani, the 23-year-old Japanese pitcher and outfielder who has a chance to star both on the mound and at the plate in the major leagues. We’ve seen some very talented players come over from Asia in recent years, but none of them are quite like Ohtani. Some analysts say that we haven’t seen a player like Ohtani since the legendary Babe Ruth, so it was pretty exciting to hear that the Nippon-Ham Fighters, Ohtani’s team in Japan, will be making him available this winter for MLB clubs to bid on.
The Mets are widely assumed to be out of the running for Ohtani because the transfer process includes a $20 million posting fee, but Andy Martino tweeted on Saturday morning that New York is nevertheless making a run at the young stud. That means filling out a questionnaire and convincing Ohtani and his representation that Queens is the best spot for him to prosper.
The Mets have the benefit of being in a large, diverse market with lots of media opportunities for a budding baseball superstar, but unfortunately there’s also another team in that market that has more money, resources, and past success with Japanese players than our National League outfit.
Who knows, though? The Mets have lured Japanese talent before, and they’ve got to throw their hat in the ring to even have a chance. Ohtani has the type of potential that can turn a franchise’s fortunes around, so there’s no harm in taking a shot.