On the heels of baseball’s $700MM man making his decision, here are three things we’ll be keeping an eye on around the baseball world throughout the day today:
1. Fallout of Ohtani’s decision:
Shohei Ohtani is set to become a Dodger on a record-shattering $700MM deal. With the biggest question of the offseason answered, there’s plenty of ripple effects that will impact the remainder of the offseason. It’s not yet clear whether Ohtani has undergone a physical and his contract with the Dodgers has been finalized, and L.A. will need to clear a spot on its 40-man roster to accommodate the addition of Ohtani once those final steps have happened. Looking beyond the Dodgers, the teams that missed out on Ohtani — the Blue Jays, Angels, Cubs, and Giants are among the teams that were involved in the bidding process — will need to look elsewhere as they attempt to improve ahead of next season. That could allow the markets for other top players, such as center fielder Cody Bellinger, right-hander Yoshinobu Yamamoto, and left-hander Blake Snell, to come into focus over the coming days.
2. When will the rumored Dodgers-Yankees deal be completed?
An unusual report surfaced yesterday, with The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal indicating that the Dodgers and Yankees were working on a trade that would send two players on L.A.’s 40-man roster to the Yankees in exchange for a prospect in the Yankees organization who is not on the 40-man. The deal would clear the aforementioned roster spot needed to finalize Ohtani’s contract while also making room for right-hander Joe Kelly. Joel Sherman of the New York Post heard the same, adding that the Yankees will pick up an “end of roster pitcher” who could provide depth lost by the inclusion of depth arms Randy Vasquez and Jhony Brito in the Juan Soto trade while also adding an additional prospect. It seems likely that the specifics of the deal should be available in the near future.
3. Could the relief market be picking up?
Yesterday saw a pair of veteran free agent southpaws come off the board as left-hander Andrew Chafin reunited with the Tigers in Detroit while Will Smith rejoined the team for whom he made his major league debut in Kansas City. With those two arms off the board, will the relief market continue to heat up? Closer Josh Hader headlines the class, while flamethrowing 27-year-old Jordan Hicks, breakout righty Robert Stephenson and NPB relief ace Yuki Matsui are among the other notable names who’ve yet to sign. The Cubs, Cardinals, Astros, and Rangers are among the many teams known to be searching for relief help at this point in the offseason.