MLB Rumors: Teams out on Ohtani, Braves-Shane Bieber trade, Cubs sleeper target

  • If Cubs miss out on top SP targets, they have a high-end backup plan
  • What a Braves trade for Shane Bieber could look like
  • Several teams bow out of Shohei Ohtani sweepstakes

Los Angeles Angels v New York Mets
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MLB Rumors: Red Sox, Mets, Rangers out of Shohei Ohtani sweepstakes

Before the MLB Winter Meetings get underway in Nashville next week, we're already starting to get more clarity on how Shohei Ohtani's franchise-changing free agency could play out. Namely, we know -- at least reportedly -- three teams that are turning their attention elsewhere.

ESPN MLB insider Jeff Passan ($) reported on Friday as a preview for the Winter Meetings that, while contenders like the Los Angeles Dodgers, Chicago Cubs, Toronto Blue Jays and Los Angeles Angels remain in the mix, three previously reported contenders are not. Per Passan, the Boston Red Sox, New York Mets, and World Series-champion Texas Rangers have all bowed out of the race to turn "their attention to other players".

The Mets have looked the part of an outsider since the trade deadline when Steve Cohen cut bait on the lucrative investments in Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander, but this further confirms that. The Red Sox and the Rangers, however, are both a bit surprising, yet understandable.

Though there had been some growing buzz about Ohtani's desire to win in regards to his connection to the Rangers, Texas has spent hugely in free agency in recent years and might be looking to not set records with a contract offter to Ohtani this season. And in the case of the Red Sox, this roster that Craig Breslow is taking over is more than one superstar -- even at Ohtani's level -- away from contending again. Thus, this approach and adding multiple stars might be more prudent.

Again, in MLB free agency, things can turn on a dime. If any of these three teams got word that Ohtani has them as his top option, this thought process that Passan is reporting might flip. But for now, we might be down to a four-team race... or five if you count the San Francisco Giants, a club lurking but with little info about where they ultimately stand as of now.

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