Atlanta Braves Rumors: Did Shohei Ohtani's price just drop?
The Braves have always been an unlikely suitor for Shohei Ohtani, but could that change if his price goes down? There is absolutely a world where Alex Anthopoulos signs Ohtani to an affordable, short-term contract. It just isn't in our reality. As The Athletic's Jim Bowden mentioned a few weeks ago, it would be out of the Braves element to sign Ohtani to a long-term, expensive deal.
"The Braves have put together the best team in baseball and have done it affordably. As much as they’d like Ohtani to join the top of their rotation, I don’t see the Braves playing in the half-a-billion-dollar playground when their team is good enough to win without him."
Ohtani underwent surgery on Tuesday to repair his partially-torn UCL. While he won't pitch again until the 2025 season, he is expected to be ready to DH by Opening Day 2024, which is a significant development. Any team that signs Ohtani to a long-term contract of his choosing will have to believe he can one day be a two-way force again. Atlanta likely will not be that team, as it would cost them at least $400 million, if not more. Still, FanSided's Robert Murray considers it unlikely that Ohtani will return to the Angels, meaning his services are available to the highest bidder:
"Not only did it signal that the Angels were done in 2023, it perhaps signaled the end to Ohtani’s tenure in Anaheim. He’s made it clear that he wants to compete in the postseason. He has not done so in six seasons in Anaheim despite being the best player in baseball. The Angels did everything they could to keep Ohtani. In the end, however, this was increasingly likely to be his last season in Anaheim."
Ohtani seems to prefer the west coast and a lax media market. Atlanta is neither of those things.