5 new Shohei Ohtani free-agent destinations on the east coast

Shohei Ohtani is reportedly willing to sign on the east coast, which could change the free agency landscape completely

Shohei Ohtani, Pete Alonso
Shohei Ohtani, Pete Alonso / Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
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3. Tampa Bay Rays

The Tampa Bay Rays won 99 games before getting sent home in the wild card round. Tampa has historically been hesitant to spend top dollar for elite players, but the Rays reportedly offered a massive trade package for Ohtani at the deadline. It's clear the franchise is interested in the modern-day GOAT, and if Ohtani is focused on winning, Tampa is a rock-solid choice.

There is no shortage of power wattage in the Rays' lineup. Ohtani would anchor the middle of a group that includes Wander Franco, Randy Arozarena, and Jose Siri. In the long run, he would join a pitching staff built around Cy Young candidate Shane McClanahan. The upside is immense for a Tampa team that may finally be ready to go all-in after consecutive postseason disappointments.

Ohtani appears content to embrace the charm of a small market. The Rays have a high competitive ceiling, but also face a brutal gauntlet in the AL East. There isn't a more challenging division in baseball and that bleeds into the postseason. The Rays have been determined to develop organically, but sometimes it takes a huge swing — a leap of faith — to reach the mountaintop. Ohtani would represent just that.

The Rays offered three top-10 prospects, including MLB Pipeline's No. 6 overall prospect Junior Caminero, for Ohtani at the trade deadline. Well, now Tampa has the chance to lure him away from Los Angeles with money, not players. Tampa can keep its elite farm system intact while building an immediate winner around the hungrier-than-ever Ohtani. It's a dream scenario for that front office and fanbase.