The biggest storyline of the entire offseason will be the Shohei Ohtani sweepstakes. Arguably the best player to ever grace a baseball diamond is an unrestricted free agent and could potentially set the record for the largest contract ever signed, if he so desires.
The Braves aren’t typically involved with players set to sign mega-contracts. However, perhaps an exception could be made for Shohei Ohtani, who is a global superstar and would bring an entire new section of people to the fan base. Financially, it could be beneficial, aside from everything he brings on the field. There was also a report from ESPN’s Alden Gonzalez that Ohtani could favor a shorter term deal with a higher AAV, which would be much more in the Braves wheelhouse.
So, we really don’t know what Shohei Ohtani prioritizes in free agency. It’s been made clear he wants to join a contender, and MLB Network’s Jon Morosi even reported earlier this week that he is “intrigued” by the possibility of playing for the Braves, who are set up for a remarkable run of success. However, there are plenty of other contenders that could offer him that, as well as a contract north of half a billion dollars, which the Braves likely won’t match.
Shohei Ohtani signing with Atlanta would send shockwaves around the baseball world. The best player in the game signing with the most talented team in the league would almost seem unfair. Most don’t believe the Braves have a real chance, but if he is open to a shorter deal and wants to compete for World Series championships year in and year out, there’s no better place than Atlanta.
There’s also another thing that could be working in the Braves favor. Per Jeff Passan of ESPN, fans shouldn’t expect to hear a bunch about what Shohei Ohtani is thinking this winter. He’s expected to meet with teams secretly, and if those meetings are made public, it could affect his decision.
“If there is one thing to know about Shohei Ohtani’s free agency, it’s that you are unlikely to know much about it until he signs somewhere,” Passan writes. “If visits between Ohtani and a team are reported publicly, it will be held against the team, so the circles will be tiny and tight.”
That might not be fun for the fans this offseason, who are dying to know what’s going on in the mind of the most sought after free agent in MLB history, but it certainly won’t affect the Braves if they have any shot of signing him. There might not be a more buttoned up organization in the sport. Nothing gets out on their end when it comes to free agent negotiations or trades, which could play a factor in Ohtani’s decision.
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