A torn elbow ligament and a side injury have officially ended Shohei Ohtani’s 2023 season. While he has yet to hit free agency, speculation has already begun about where he might land. And once again, the New York Mets have come up.

Ohtani was “spotlighted” by 30 major league clubs before he made it to the big leagues. This was because he was a prodigious two-way talent at the professional level, where it’s hard to succeed as a pitcher or a hitter alone. At the time, Ohtani was not a free agent and had to enter the big leagues through the international amateur contract system rather than the posting system, so almost every team in the majors was interested in signing him.

However, Ohtani’s first season in the majors was not a success. He underwent Tommy John surgery for a torn ligament in his right elbow. After going 4-2 with a 3.31 ERA in 10 games in the 2018 season, Ohtani was forced to take a long hiatus from the mound. It wasn’t until 2021 that Ohtani began to break major league records.

In 2021, Ohtani hit .257 with 138 hits, 46 home runs, 100 RBIs, 103 runs scored, 26 doubles, and a .965 OPS in 155 games as a hitter, and went 9-2 with a 3.18 ERA in 23 starts as a pitcher, winning the American League MVP title by a unanimous vote. He proved that 2021 wasn’t a flash in the pan, going 34-for-95 with a .273 OPS and .875 batting average and a 15-9 record with a 2.33 ERA last year.

Ohtani proved his worth by leading Team Japan to victory in the World Baseball Classic (WBC), while at the plate he batted .304 with 44 homers, 95 RBIs, 102 runs scored and a 1.066 OPS, and on the mound he went 10-5 with a 3.14 ERA in 23 starts en route to his second career American League MVP and home run crown. While the two titles are a sure thing, it’s certainly a disappointment to see him end the season on such a high note.

One of the reasons Ohtani cited for ending the season on such a high note was injury. Late last month, after pitching just 1⅓ innings in the first game of a doubleheader against the Cincinnati Reds, Ohtani was taken off the mound and diagnosed with a torn ligament in his right elbow. Ohtani had continued to pitch despite the elbow injury, but he was sidelined after a game against the Oakland Athletics on April 4. This time, it was his side that was bothering him.

Manager Phil Nevin had been saying all along that he had no intention of placing Ohtani on the disabled list (IL) and that he would be back on the field soon, but after a stint in the starting lineup, Ohtani suffered another flare-up of side pain, which led to him packing up his belongings in the locker room without his teammates knowing. On July 17, the Angels announced that Ohtani had been placed on the disabled list and was out for the season.

For now, Ohtani will say goodbye to his teammates and fans at the final home game of the regular season. This will be his last time with the Angels, as he will be eligible for free agency at the end of the season. Of course, it’s possible that Ohtani could sign a free agent contract with the Angels, but it’s highly unlikely at this point, given that the Angels have always wanted to make the postseason.

Local media in the U.S. also seem to think that their time together is over. “Ohtani’s time with the Angels is over,” said the New York Post on April 18, while CBS Sports said, “Ohtani’s season is over. It’s likely he’s played his last game for the Angels,” and “CBS Sports” said that a re-signing is unlikely.

Now, the New York Mets have emerged as a possible destination for Ohtani. The Mets spent an astronomical amount of money ahead of this season to try to win a championship, including acquiring a “Cy Young” one-two punch. However, it didn’t work out as expected, and the Mets traded away all of their key pieces before the trade deadline.

In waiving the season, the Mets made it clear that they would not be challenging for a championship until 2023 or later, which is why Justin Verlander (Houston Astros) and Max Scherzer (Texas Rangers) waived their no-trade clauses and accepted trades. This made a move to the Mets seem unlikely, but there has been a growing chorus of voices linking Ohtani to the Mets again.

“If the Mets want to compete for a championship in 2024, they need to add a star bat,” said John Harper of SNY, listing Ohtani and Cody Bellinger as possible candidates. “Even if Ohtani has Tommy John surgery now, at the end of the season, the timeline of Bryce Harper (Philadelphia Phillies) would allow him to play designated hitter early next season. Harper had the surgery on Nov. 24 of last year and was in the lineup as a designated hitter on May 3.” Harper was back 160 days after Tommy John surgery at the time.

Of course, there’s a catch. Ohtani wants to join the Mets. However, most baseball insiders believe the Mets could reverse their stance at the trade deadline and join the bidding war for Ohtani. “The question is whether Ohtani is willing to move to the East Coast,” SNY explained, “and if he is, expect owner Steve Cohen to make the biggest offer, even though the Mets have indicated they may not be all-in for the 2024 season.” 바카라사이트

According to SNY, a rival team official said, “If Ohtani comes to New York, their thinking will change. He’s going to be an above-average offensive player.” “I don’t know what the size of the contract will be. The Mets are fulfilling the contracts of Scherzer and Verlander. But Cohen is capable of anything.”

If Ohtani is willing to move to the East Coast, and if Cohen is willing to make the move, it’s not hard to envision a huge contract for a player who can’t pitch. There is already a lot of interest in Ohtani’s destination.

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