Why Ohtani Will Not Be A New York Met
Like seemingly every Major League team, the New York Mets are interested in obtaining the Japanese Babe Ruth – Shohei Ohtani. While it is good to hear the Mets are in fact interested in entering the race for the pitcher/hitter, no one should expect the Mets to get him.
This isn’t a financial reason either. Ohtani comes with a $20 million posting fee which is only accepted by the team who is deemed to have one the claim. The Mets can only offer him a bonus from their international bonus pool which currently stands at $150,000. This pales in comparison to the $3,535,000 the Rangers could offer him or the $3,250,000 the Yankees could offer him.
Now, the Mets don’t have the pool money those teams have because the Mets have spent their money acquiring players. The one caveat here is if Ohtani really wanted to come to the Mets, the Mets could very well trade for additional pool money.
The issue is why would Ohtani want to come to the Mets? Given the Collective Bargaining Agreement constructs, Ohtani is going to make roughly the same amount as T.J. Rivera did last year. If he waited two years, he’d possibly get Giancarlo Stanton‘s contract. In many ways, you could argue, Ohtani isn’t motivated as much by the money as he is by the chance of accomplishing his dream of playing in the majors.
For him, that means both pitching and hitting. Likely, that means Ohtani belongs in the American League where he could DH on a somewhat regular basis. During his five year career in the Japanese Leagues, his positional breakdown was as follows: P (85 G), RF (57 G), LF (7 G), DH (256 G).
Consider for a moment, Ohtani has not appeared in the outfield since 2014. There are a few reasons for that including Ohtani’s recent medical history. A bigger reason is a team does not want their top of the rotation starter airing it out in right field to try to nail a runner at the plate, nor do they want that pitcher diving to catch a ball and risk the injuries we have seen Juan Lagares suffer the past few seasons.
You could argue this could lead a team to try to move him to first base. However, if you view Ohtani as a top of the rotation starter, would you be willing to risk a Cliff Floyd – Todd Hundley type of collision? There is next to no chance you would do that, and that is even before you consider a team not wanting to waste teaching Otani a new position in lieu of working with his new pitching coach.
As much as National League teams want Ohtani, they really can’t afford the risk of playing Ohtani everyday. You don’t want him in right field a day after he threw 100 pitches. Accordingly, there are some necessary off days he is going to need. Every National League team knows this, including the Mets. Ohtani and his agents know this as well.
If Ohtani really wants to pitch and hit, he’s really limited to the American League where he can DH on the days he’s not starting.
Of course, there is still every possibility Ohtani really does want to do it all, which would include fielding. To be fair, there haven’t been comments from Ohtani regarding his wants from that regard.
Still, if you were a betting man, you would likely bet on Ohtani choosing an American League team because that is the team best suited for not only his talents, but also for his own personal goals. If that is the case, while we can point fingers at the Mets for missing out on players over the years, they will not be to blame for missing out on a once in a generation type of talent.