Could the Braves be a sleeper team for Shohei Ohtani?

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It’s an off day, so I’m going to discuss one of the hottest topics in sports; where will Shohei Ohtani sign in free agency?

Unlike most people, I believe the Angels have a decent chance of retaining him. They’ve been more competitive this year, and instead of selling him to the top bidder at the trade deadline, they are probably going to do everything they can to acquire talented pieces and get to the postseason. If they can do that, Ohtani just might decide to stay. We know the Angels won’t be afraid to offer him the contract he desires.

Then, there are the other big market clubs that will make a run at him. The Dodgers make the most sense, and they should probably be the favorites to land him. Ohtani prefers the west coast and wants to play for a competitor. The Dodgers are one of the most well ran organizations in sports. With Ohtani, they could be World Series favorites for the next decade, and they’ve cleared out a lot of salary to make a push for him this offseason.

Teams like the Yankees and Mets can’t be counted out either. Both New York clubs have endless amounts of cash, but Ohtani wouldn’t exactly be walking into stable situations if he chose to go to the Empire State.

Then, there are the sleepers. The Cubs have money to spend and are trying to get out of a rebuild. They could be a destination for Ohtani. The Giants are also a team to watch. They’ve overachieved this year and nearly landed Aaron Judge last offseason. Not to mention, they are on the west coast. They’ll surely make a recruiting pitch to Ohtani this winter.

But what about the Braves?

The Braves are notorious for avoiding mega-contracts, and typically, they are correct in doing so. There are only a handful of players worth $300+ million. Most of the time, these deals turn sour after about five years, and sometimes even before then. However, that doesn’t mean the Braves are cheap, or wouldn’t be willing to make exceptions for the right player. And is there any more perfect target than Shohei Ohtani?

Ohtani is the best player to ever walk the face of the earth. We’ve never seen anything like him. Whoever signs him will get their money’s worth, not only on the field but off of it as well in the form of ticket sales, merchandise, etc. Braves ownership saw firsthand the amount of money a World Series can bring in. With Ohtani, it’s hard not to imagine several titles coming to Atlanta over the duration of his contract.

The Braves are also in an ideal position to make a big splash. The core of their team is locked up to team friendly deals, and their payroll continues to rise because of the success of the team and the surrounding Battery area. They also have a lot of expensive contracts coming off the books in the coming years — like Max Fried, Eddie Rosario, Marcell Ozuna, Charlie Morton, and Raisel Iglesias.

The Braves are absolutely in a position to make a sneaky run at Shohei Ohtani if they desire. I don’t see any chance they end up being close to the highest bidder, so it will come down to what Ohtani wants. If he wants to compete for championships every season, there is no better organization to play for than the Atlanta Braves.

Photo: Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire

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