We know the Braves have money to spend this offseason. The Battery and Truist have virtually printed money since their inception, and Atlanta’s payroll health is among the best in baseball. Moreover, a report from Ken Rosenthal confirmed the club would be willing to spend considerable money on the right starting pitcher. Interestingly, it could be for a guy who might not even be able to pitch in 2024 — Shohei Ohtani.
The Japanese phenom may be a pipe dream for Atlanta because of the $500+ million contract he’s expected to garner in free agency, but perhaps it is not totally out of the realm of possibilities. Alex Anthopoulos is all about value, and when it comes to on the field production, nobody can compare to Ohtani because of his ability to contribute as both a hitter and pitcher.
However, an elbow injury and subsequent Tommy John surgery has complicated things. Ohtani won’t be able to pitch until 2025 at the earliest, and there’s no telling if he will be the same dominant pitcher when he does return. That adds a ton of risk to the conversation when talking about a player that could fetch half a billion dollars in free agency.
With that being said, Ohtani has made something abundantly clear in recent years. He wants to play for a contender, and nobody is set up for more success in the future than the Atlanta Braves. Which, according to Jon Morosi of MLB Network, “intrigues” Ohtani.
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) November 13, 2023
Morosi notes that the Dodgers should still be considered the favorites, which shouldn’t surprise anyone. Los Angeles has the geographical advantage and also has the competitive pedigree that Atlanta does while having more money to potentially give Ohtani. Still, this is an exciting nugget for Braves Country.
The logistics are a bit wonky because Marcell Ozuna would have to be moved for Ohtani to be the permanent DH, and the Braves would have to feel confident in his projected rehab from Tommy John Surgery. The structure of the contract could reflect that uncertainty, but this is all very exciting for the club and its fans.
Shohei Ohtani to the Braves would light this city on fire.
John Cordes/Icon Sportswire