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May 31, 2023

MLB rumors: Could the Phillies be possible suitors for Shohei Ohtani?

They'd be a long shot, but ESPN's Buster Olney does have the Phils as a "potential player" for the Japanese superstar.

Could you imagine Shohei Ohtani in red pinstripes? 

There might be an outside shot at it, though how great of a chance it actually is for right now – if there's one at all – is unclear. 

Over the weekend, ESPN's Buster Olney broke down a list of possible suitors for the Japanese superstar should he hit free agency this winter, and although they're way down the list, the Phillies – alongside the Boston Red Sox – were marked by Olney as a "potential player" in the approaching Ohtani sweepstakes. 

Granted, a signing like that would be a mighty tough ask of the Phils. 

Ohtani, a once-in-a-generation talent who pitches with top-of-the-rotation stuff while hitting for power in the middle of the order, is expected to get a record-breaking contract worth north of $500 million after the 2023 season, and the Phillies already have two mega deals worth upwards of $300 million invested in Bryce Harper and Trea Turner. 

On top of that, what is likely going to be a baseball bidding war for the ages will have a handful of other teams in the mix who are better positioned to make those astronomical kinds of offers. 

The Dodgers, who Olney marked as the current favorite, have been clearing out payroll, which in theory should set them up to make a move; The Mets and Yankees are both massive-market clubs who have zero hesitation when it comes to throwing cash around, the Padres haven't been afraid to spend of late either (remember, they did offer Turner more money in free agency); And the Giants, Cubs, and Mariners are expected to be in the mix and willing to spend too. 

You can't rule out Ohtani staying put with the Angels either, a club that has been spinning its wheels for years, but is sitting two games above .500 as of Wednesday. 

That said, you also can't discount club president Dave Dombrowski's and owner John Middleton's aggressiveness and own willingness to spend in order to build a winner. 

Last spring they went after and signed sluggers Nick Castellanos and Kyle Schwarber to flesh out the lineup, then this past winter, they went straight for Turner to bring in a star shortstop, added Taijuan Walker to the middle of the rotation, and turned to Matt Strahm and Craig Kimbrel to bolster the bullpen. 

With longtime pieces Aaron Nola and Rhys Hoskins both slated for free agency after this season, and ace Zack Wheeler due up the year after, the Phillies have some major decisions coming up, and depending on how things play out, they could end up in need of a new bat and top of the rotation starting pitcher. 

Ohtani, as one talent evaluator pointed out to Olney, would count as the latter, but he would just as much be the former too. 

It would just cost an unfathomable ton. 

>>SOURCE: What MLB execs are saying about Shohei Ohtani sweepstakes (ESPN+)

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