Even in a world where money ain’t the thing, those pinstripes still mean something.
At least, that’s apparently the case for Shohei Ohtani, who will probably be posted soon-ish (once MLB, NPB, and MLBPA get things resolved on their end). Per Jon Heyman: “This is a unique case involving a unique talent, but many Yankee competitors are now viewing them as the supreme favorite to land international sensation Ohtani.”
Heyman goes on to say that incoming Japanese players “are seen as preferring either the Yankees or Dodgers due to the prestige of the league’s respective marquee franchises.” I know that’ll chap a number of Cubs fans around here, and certainly things are changing in that regard, but, historically speaking, I don’t think you can argue that those are the two most historically relevant teams.
When you combine all of that with the ability for Ohtani to get starts at DH in the AL (and with the fact that the Yankees are one of just two teams that can offer Ohtani a signing bonus near $3.5 million), you get a pretty clear picture of them as the favorite.
As far as anyone knows, anyway. It’s all still a fairly wide open process from my perspective, given how strange and mysterious things have been to this point. That is to say, sure, I’ll buy that the Yankees are the favorite, but it feels like one of those things where the favorite is at 20%, and there are still a myriad of other teams (including him not coming at all) making up that other 80%.
Do I think the Cubs get a big slice of that 80%? No, not really. That’s never been the case, thanks to the IFA restriction, the lack of a history with big-time NPB stars, and the no DH thing. But I’m just over here hoping they have a shot. I think the front office will offer up an excellent pitch, and, from there, you never know what happens.
We should get an update on Ohtani tomorrow, as the Players Association has set a deadline for the posting agreement issues to be resolved by tomorrow.