Patience is key. And as the off-season begins to take shape, the hot stove for Major League acquisitions has not. With high-end pieces such as Giancarlo Stanton and Shohei Ohtani out in the open, it has caused a lag in the baseball world. As these two major pieces wait to find a resting place, let’s recap these two figures and explore where they may end up.
Player №1: Shohei Ohtani
Position: Outfielder and Pitcher
Bats: Left / Throws: Right
Born: July 5, 1994 (Age: 23 years)
It’s borderline undeniable that Ohtani’s story is the most intruiging so far this off-season. A two-way player from the Japanese League, Ohtani excels both on the mound and at the plate — a rarity in Major League Baseball.
On the mound, Ohtani features a repatuar similar to that of his Japanese counterpart, Yu Darvish:
If you can think of it, this man can probably pitch it. This is a quality often seen in Japanese pitchers, as a dynamic use of pitches is often highlighted as a strength among international pitchers. Ohtani contains more polish than command, but look for him to be a top-of-the-line rotation man this upcoming season.
Although Ohtani revels in his pitching, it is also worth noting his success at the plate. In 5 total seasons in the Japanese League, Ohtani has collected a total of 1170 plate appearances, averaging a .286/.358/.500 slash line , relatively impressive numbers for a 23-year-old pitcher. Other than pitching, Ohtani has seen some time in the outfield (mostly right), but has been partially limited due to recurrent injuries. His swing is long, enabling a potential weak spot on the inside of the strike zone. Oh, and he is fast, measuring a time of less than 4 seconds from home plate to first base just this year. With these advantages at the plate, it may be easier for American League teams to impress the Japanese superstar, as the Designated Hitter position may come to play an important role. However, if he chooses National League, Ohtani may have the ability to hit for himself on days that he does pitch from time to time.
As the time Ohtani has to sign with a Major League team dwindles, it has been reported that 7 teams remain in the running:
It has been reported that Ohtani would most likely favor a west coast team, hence a majority of the names listed above. Although it is still unclear where this young phenom will end up, it will be important to keep an eye on him and see what potential benefits he can bring to Major League Baseball.
Player №2: Giancarlo Stanton
Bats: Right / Throws: Right
Born: November 8, 1989 (Age: 28 years)
This goes without saying, but Stanton is an absolute powerhouse, causing more drama this off-season than he did during his 59 hr campaign in the 2017 season. With $295 million still remaining on his contract that includes a no-trade clause, Stanton must first waive that clause before any deals can be made. Amidst rumors that Stanton would like to play for the Los Angeles Dodgers, it has been reported in recent days that frameworks for deals with the San Francisco Giants and St. Louis Cardinals have been approved by Miami.
With that said, however, it has also been reported that Derek Jeter, new owner of the Miami Marlins organization, has created a sparse relationship with many of his players, including Stanton. This strained relationship between management and player personnel could come to impact the terms of any potential deal. As Stanton possesses the power decide when or when not to waive his no trade clause, he will likely not agree to a deal that would send him to a location he does not approve of. Taking Stanton’s personal preference is something Jeter should choose to incorporate into the decision making process if the Marlins would like to dump a large portion of Stanton’s remaining contract.
Although it has been slow so far, be ready for some fast-paced moves by front offices after these two men fall off the board in coming days.