Shohei Ohtani rumors: One presumptive favorite to land superstar might admit defeat

Could the Mets be out on Shohei Ohtani already?
Aug 27, 2023; New York City, New York, USA; Los Angeles Angels designated hitter Shohei Ohtani (17)
Aug 27, 2023; New York City, New York, USA; Los Angeles Angels designated hitter Shohei Ohtani (17) / Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Angels hope to find a way to convince Shohei Ohtani to remain with the franchise long-term. Their chances of doing so have always seemed to be slim, especially after the team finished with a losing record once again, but they're certainly not zero.

The Angels' biggest threats have always been teams out west that are in better positions to win, and teams overall that are willing to overwhelm Ohtani with a monstrous contract offer that he could not turn down.

One team that seems to have an unlimited budget is the New York Mets who, thanks to owner Steve Cohen, had the largest payroll in MLB history in 2023. Following a disappointing season, it would've made sense for the Mets to continue to spend recklessly and give Ohtani some absurd contract, but according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today, the Mets might not be as big of players for Ohtani as we might've thought.

LA Angels chances at re-signing Shohei Ohtani improve slightly if the NY Mets bow out

In his latest, Nightengale says "The New York Mets have their eyes on Japanese ace Yoshinobu Yamamoto, believing they have no realistic chance to land Ohtani."

This Mets team with a ton of money at their disposal believes they have no realistic shot at signing Ohtani and are believed to be prioritizing fellow Japanese free agent Yoshinobu Yamamoto. If true, this would take a prime suitor out of the running.

The Mets might not have the location or the history of winning Ohtani wants, but they had the largest checkbook. If the Mets offered Shohei the most money, who's to say he wouldn't have gone there?

Ohtani having no interest in going east opens the door to the Angels potentially snagging him. Teams that might've been interested like the Yankees or Red Sox might not have a chance if the Mets believe they also had no realistic chance.

It'll be interesting to monitor and find out which teams actually do have a chance at signing Shohei Ohtani. If it's limited to just west coast teams and the Cubs, the Angels chances do improve somewhat.