Could it be some Major League Baseball teams are getting played by Shohei Ohtani? A few executives think so.
The two-way Japanese baseball player is one of the most highly sought after free agents in the game, and he has made teams come to him as a result. The 23-year-old has had teams filling out questionnaires, held private meetings with nearly each one and had them lay out their case.
But some executives think Ohtani had made his mind up all along, according to The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal.
“Execs from other rejected East Coast teams wonder privately why they worked so hard on their presentations when Ohtani’s finalists were five West Coast clubs, plus two from the middle of the country, the Rangers and Cubs,” Rosenthal wrote. “Officials from other clubs fear Ohtani’s jam-packed meeting schedule might be something of a charade, with even some finalists questioning if they are being ‘played.'”
It’s a compelling thought given how particular Ohtani has been through the process. But at the same time, the decision the dual-threat player is taking on obviously will be a largely impactful one, so it’s no surprise he’s been pretty selective.
At the moment, the current remaining teams (after the Rangers and Cubs) are the Los Angeles Dodgers, San Diego Padres, and San Francisco Giants. The Los Angeles Angels and Seattle Mariners also are finalists and have recently made moves allowing them to gain more international free agent pool money to try and offer more to Ohtani.
Thumbnail photo via YouTube/WBSC