Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter |
Orlando, Fla. -- Before departing the GM meetings on Wednesday morning, Sandy Alderson stood outside the Waldorf Astoria Orlando with a small group of reporters and confirmed that the Mets are interested in Japanese two-way player Shohei Ohtani. If he wasn't interested, he'd have no business being a general manager -- every team should be engaged on this potentially once-in-a-lifetime bargain.
Ohtani can be had for a $20 million posting fee that will be paid to his Japanese team, the Nippon-Ham Fighters, plus relative pennies in international signing money -- anywhere from a few hundred thousand to a few million dollars. In theory, a team could offer him a larger contract later, but the expense of acquiring him will be minimal relative to his value. Scouts say he has the potential to be both a high-end starting pitcher and a capable everyday player.
So there's no downside, right? Well … there is one thing ….
"I think the only downside is creating a set of false expectations on the part of fans which I think have to be tempered," Alderson said. "This guy could go to any one of 30 teams. As I said at this stage, everybody has to be somewhat interested."
This will be an extraordinarily odd negotiation, because Ohtani will be making so little money playing baseball. His agents at CAA will have to get creative in order to find endorsements and other revenue streams for him. Because of that, you can likely eliminate smaller-market clubs, leaving the Mets to compete with the likes of the Dodgers and Yankees.
Both of those brands, particularly the Yankees, carry weight internationally. But you can count on Alderson having an opportunity to make a pitch to Ohtani: CAA also represents Yoenis Cespedes, Noah Syndergaard, Jacob deGrom, and Tim Tebow, and maintains a good relationship with the Mets. They will no doubt meet with Alderson and company soon, meaning that you will hear rumors linking the team to Ohtani again.
"I don't know that anybody has ruled themselves out of the Ohtani sweepstakes at this point, so I certainly wouldn't rule ourselves out at this point," the GM said.
"That's going to be a very complicated proposition for anybody that is interested. Again, I think it's going to be a little early to know what those complications are. The basic parameters haven't been set. I think there is still a lot to be learned in his situation and how it potentially will unfold. But to sit here today and say no we're not interested would be foolish."
Alderson wasn't shooting down the story; far from it. The Mets are interested in Othani. But one of the GM's goals on Wednesday was clearly to remind the fan base that the same can be said for 29 other teams.
Alderson, who rightly called baseball an "entertainment business," said that the Mets scouted Ohtani, and was looking forward to seeing how his transition to MLB goes.
"I think the player himself is different in some ways and novel in certainly a couple of respects. The fact that he plays so well offensively and pitches the way that he does sets him apart from anybody else that has come over from Japan. … There's a uniqueness that sets him apart."