Monday, December 4, 2017

Ohtani resolution (for the Twins)

So much for Shohei Ohtani coming to Minnesota:

The Twins were perceived, at least in some corners, as a dark horse candidate to land the Japanese phenom, and Thad Levine made no bones in recent interviews that the pitcher-outfielder was a top priority. But they didn't get to the interview stage with him.

Neither did the New York Yankees, who were, by the conventional wisdom, the mostly likely successful suitor. It's kinda amusing to see the reaction of the NYC tabs to the news:

Anyway, that's their problem. And it really is something of a problem for the Yankees, who desperately want to get under the salary cap threshold in 2018 to break the escalating penalties for "overspending" before the anticipated free agencies of Bryce Harper and Manny Machado. Ohtani represented not only a major talent upgrade but a cheap one. That last is, this winter, rather vital to the Yankees. They were, apparently, really counting on landing him. And now they won't.

For the Twins, there is now a clear top priority in the free agent market, at least if we fully credit Levine's recent interviews (always a dangerous proposition with any general manager): Yu Darvish.

Darvish is, of course, another Japanese pitching star. He has more mileage than Ohtani and is going to be more expensive by multiples, but he's a proven commodity, Levine knows him well from their mutual tenure with the Texas Rangers, and there's no position player/pitcher two-way drama involved.

I'm not saying that the Twins will land Darvish, who is probably the biggest conventional free agent in the market. I am saying that he's their target. 

1 comment:

  1. I'm not surprised, given our history with Nishioka and Park.

    I remember sitting in the outfield at a game in 1987. The Twins were leading the division and Texas was at or close to the cellar. There was a fan heckling the Ranger's center fielder, "Hey Oddibie! You could have been a Twin!" Maybe someday, I'll hear him again when Ohtani visits Target Field.