A few notes from around the game:
- Soon-to-be free agent ace/outfielder Shohei Ohtani spoke with the Associated Press and other media on Saturday about his desire to leave Japan for the major leagues this winter. “The other day I met with team officials and stated my intentions,” Ohtani said, referring to the Nippon Ham Fighters. “My request was met with warm words of support, so I hope to do my best in America from next year on.” The 23-year-old is renowned for both his pitching and hitting skills, but he noted that he’s “not a complete player yet,” which is his “strongest reason for wanting to go now.” While Ohtani does have “a strong desire” to continue as a two-way player in the majors, he admitted that he’s unsure if it’ll be possible.
- Astros catcher Brian McCann told Gabriel Burns of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Friday that he’d like to end his career as a member of the Braves, with whom he thrived from 2005-13. “One hundred percent,” said the 33-year-old McCann. “One hundred percent. This is my home. I played close to 10 years here. This organization is really, really, really close to my heart. I love this organization.” McCann, a Georgia native who still lives there, will be a free agent next offseason if the Astros decline his $15MM option. Braves backstops Tyler Flowers and Kurt Suzuki are also slated to hit the open market, which could pave the way for a McCann-Atlanta reunion in 2019 if the club’s interested in making it happen.
- The team that makes a surprise splash in free agency is most likely to be the Phillies, according to a group of executives and agents who spoke with Mark Feinsand of MLB.com. “They say they aren’t doing anything, but I have a feeling they will go after someone big,” an exec told Feinsand, who points to right-handers Lance Lynn and Alex Cobb as potential targets for the team. On paper, either would improve a Phillies rotation that ranked 19th in fWAR and 21st in ERA in 2017, when Aaron Nola was their only starter who turned in a particularly strong performance.