Shohei Ohtani rumors: Surprise team still in, Jays want more, historic contract

  • Shohei Ohtani's contract could reach a truly historic number
  • Blue Jays are targeting Shohei Ohtani and Juan Soto. Why?
  • Braves still in communication with Ohtani's representation

Shohei Ohtani, Los Angeles Angels
Shohei Ohtani, Los Angeles Angels / Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
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Shohei Ohtani rumors: Braves still involved as potential surprise team

The accepted list of contenders to sign Shohei Ohtani has been whittled down to the Dodgers, Blue Jays, Cubs, Giants, Angels... and the Atlanta Braves?

Yes, according to Jon Morosi, who floated the Braves as a legitimate threat to sign Ohtani in a morning appearance on MLB Network. Atlanta has reportedly had "some conversations" with Ohtani's camp, and the two-way superstar is prioritizing the opportunity to win sustainably. It goes without saying, the Braves are well-built to address Ohtani's lack of postseason experience.

The Braves have Ronald Acuña Jr., Ozzie Albies, and Matt Olson all signed to long-term contracts. It would take some financial maneuvering elsewhere — perhaps a long-awaited Marcell Ozuna trade — but the Braves can easily clear the DH slot for Ohtani. He won't help the bullpen in the short term, but Ohtani is also expected back on the mound in 2025. The Braves' lack of high-end starting pitchers was glaring once the playoffs arrived.

Atlanta would be joining the two consensus MVP winners from last season, as well as the MLB's 2023 home run and RBI leader in Olson. Not to mention the other six All-Stars on the roster. That's a tantilizing thought. Ohtani would probably slot third in the lineup, behind Acuña and Albies, with Olson and Austin Riley moving to clean-up duty. The Braves' offense — which set records with its power last season — would become meaningfully more dangerous, all while addressing concerns about the pitching staff long term. Maybe that's worth $600 million to Alex Anthopoulos and the front office. The added publicity and marketing upside is gravy.

The Braves feel like a long shot to sign Ohtani just because of his high price tag, but Atlanta has managed to sign the rest of its stars to relatively affordable long-term contracts. Splurging on Ohtani would give the Braves a serious upper hand in the National League, and it's probably Ohtani's best chance to win postseason games on paper.

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