Shohei Ohtani rumors: Yankees not believed to be among teams pursuing Ohtani per MLB Insider

One big market giant appears to be out of the running for Shohei Ohtani.
Los Angeles Angels v New York Yankees
Los Angeles Angels v New York Yankees / Sarah Stier/GettyImages

The Los Angeles Angels are just one of many teams hoping to be the ones to convince Shohei Ohtani to sign with them for the next decade at least. The reason why is fairly obvious. He's the best player on the planet right now.

What Ohtani wants and desires in free agency is really for anyone to guess. We've seen reports saying he prefers the west coast, and others saying location doesn't matter. We've seen reports saying he cares the most about winning, and have seen others saying he values comfort.

There's not much that we know about what's going on with Ohtani, but we do know certain teams that plan on doing what they can to bring him on board. One team that many thought could be in on Ohtani was the New York Yankees, a team that used to sign just about every major free agent. According to Jeff Passan of ESPN (subscription required), that destination can be ruled out.

NY Yankees not among teams strongly pursuing Shohei Ohtani in free agency

Some expected the Yankees to be in strong on Shohei Ohtani for many reasons. First, the Yankees were a disaster in 2023. Signing Ohtani could excite a fanbase that's as angry as it has been in a long time after New York finished with an 82-80 record. Second, it's the Yankees. They always are in on big players like this. Or at least they used to be. Third, they were enamored by Ohtani when he first came to the United States, and have been linked to him in trade talks in each of the last two seasons. Despite all of those reasons, it doesn't appear that the Yankees are among the teams really pursuing Shohei.

Owner Hal Steinbrenner spends, but doesn't spend like his father, George once did. With Aaron Judge, Gerrit Cole, Giancarlo Stanton, and Carlos Rodon all locked in for the next four seasons on substantial money, giving Ohtani the contract he desires just doesn't make much sense for the Yankees. Whether Ohtani would even entertain going to New York after he didn't his first time around is another factor to consider. Passan notes that the Yankees are very in on fellow Japanese pitcher Yoshinobu Yamamoto who will certainly be expensive, but nowhere near as expensive as Shohei, obviously.

The Yankees not pursuing Ohtani knocks out one potential destination. There are many other places Shohei could go, but at certain points the Bronx felt realistic. It not being a realistic landing spot right now for Shohei can only help the Angels' chances.