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There’s a chance.
Let’s call it a very small, slim, almost non-existent chance the Phillies will be the team to win the Shohei Ohtani sweepstakes later this month, when the Japanese Babe Ruth is posted and is free to negotiate with every team in baseball.
Virtually every one of the 30 MLB clubs are going to pitch themselves to Ohtani, the Phillies included. MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki reported the Phils have made a serious pitch to the young hurler/slugger, noting the city’s long-standing relationship with the Japanese and a strong community that would make Ohtani feel right at home.
Gabe Kapler played in Japan for a season. Charlie Manuel was a legend there. And while the Phils don’t have the kind of Japanese community that Los Angeles, Seattle, and New York have, there are ways Ohtani could feel at home in Philly.
But that’s all off-the-field stuff. The main pitch for Ohtani to play in Philadelphia will be regarding on the field issues, and that is where the Phils have a disadvantage, simply because they play in the National League.
It’s unclear how often Ohtani wants to be in the lineup on days he’s not pitching, and if he wants 2-3 days between starts to be in the lineup, the DH is the only way that’s going to happen. But given how much work is required for pitchers to stay on top of their game and be effective, there’s the possibility the 23-year-old could realize he’s better off ditching the two-way play idea and just focus on the being the ace of a staff.
There are no indications that’s what he’s thinking. But if he does, then the NL becomes a viable landing spot, and the Phillies would be in almost as good a position as anyone else to convince him to come here. No, the Phils couldn’t offer him more than $900,000, which isn’t nearly as much as the $3.5 million the Yankees and Rangers can offer. And, in all likelihood, Ohtani is going to New York. It just makes too much sense.
But one last note. ESPN’s Keith Law mentioned on the latest Baseball Tonight podcast that outside of the Yankees, Mariners, Rangers and Dodgers, the Phillies would be in the best position to land the young right-hander.
So, at least there’s that.
Joining this week’s episode of The Felske Files is 94 WIP afternoon drive host Jon Marks, who also has a Phillies podcast he hosts with James Seltzer and Jack Fritz called “High Hopes.” We talk about the Giancarlo Stanton and Ohtani rumors, what the Phillies are going to do with Freddy Galvis, and how to fix the pitching rotation next season.
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