Shohei Ohtani won’t be coming to the Bronx and the Yankees will be just fine without him.
Multiple outlets were reporting GM Brian Cashman and the Yankees were told by Ohtani’s representatives that they “will not be among the teams invited to make an in-person presentation.”
Ohtani’s agents asked all 30 major league teams fill out questionnaires so they could cut down the list of suitors and evaluate where the best fit would be for their client. According to NJ.com’s Yankees’ beat reporter Brendan Kuty, Cashman said the presentation they made was “impeccable.” It sounds like Ohtani’s people wanted to keep him away from a big market.
There was a feeling throughout baseball that the Yankees were the favorites going into the process, but reports surfaced indicating Ohtani’s preference to be a two-way player. Initially, the Yankees never gave an indication that they would allow Ohtani to be, both a pitcher and a hitter, but this past Friday Cashman said he was “willing” to give it a try.
The hype for Ohtani is through the roof. Do the Yankees really want to saddle an incoming, inexperienced manager with a player who is sure to be a distraction? The “honeymoon” from last season is over and the pressure to win next season is already enormous.
No one has seen Ohtani compete against Major League or even triple-A pitchers and hitters. The game functions differently in Japan and those differences can be stark for some players. I’m sure he’s talented but that doesn’t necessarily translate to success in the Major Leagues. There are the usual obstacles for a player from Japan like language and culture. No one really knows how this kid will adapt to all of that.
Some scouts are calling Ohtani a potential number one starter in the major leagues. That is quite an accolade. Remember, starting pitchers work once a week in Japan so some of the interested clubs indicated they would be willing to go to a six-man rotation. Essentially if you’re bringing in Ohtani to enhance the starting staff, you would need the depth to pull off a six man rotation. To me, that’s defeating the purpose.
There are baseball people who believe Ohtani may place too much focus on trying to do both and he’ll hurt the development of, or won’t succeed at, either skill.
The Mariners and Giants are in the lead to land Ohtani. I felt all along that Seattle would be a landing spot. Once GM Jerry DiPoto made it clear that they would be willing to accede to Ohtani’s “requirements,” that gave me more “fodder” to think he will play with the Mariners next season.
Best of luck to Ohtani. The Yankees will be just fine without him.