Padres interest in Shohei Ohtani not logical

Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

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When Shohei Ohtani entered the league, the San Diego Padres were reportedly one of the teams who were finalists for his services.

The right-handed pitcher and left-handed slugger signed in Los Angeles with the Angels instead, choosing the larger market and a chance to play with Mike Trout, a player he greatly admired. The December 2017 deal would put the talented Japanese player in an Angels uniform for the next six years.

Heading into the 2023 season, the Angels are poised to compete in the A.L. West. They currently sit four games above the .500 mark and are one game behind the Texas Rangers for first place in the American League Western division.

Although Ohtani is due for free agency at the end of the season, the team is focused on winning now. Some pundits believed the team would entertain offers for the two-way player during the winter, but that was not the case. Angels’ general manager Perry Minasian made that quite clear early in the off-season. The Angels’ goal is to win it all, and that remains the objective.

The Angels are not actively negotiating with Ohtani, as they understand his asking price will likely be out of their budget. All indications are that Shohei Ohtani will explore free agency next winter. He will likely suit up for another franchise in 2024.

On the open market, Ohtani is expected to command somewhere in the neighborhood of $450-555 million. The most recent prediction has Ohtani signing an 11-year deal for $605 million this winter. Few teams are willing to pay that price in the modern game. Early odds put the Mets, Dodgers, Yankees, and Padres as favorites to land the star.

I'd like this amount to  

Yes. The Padres.

How is this possible?

Can the San Diego Padres really spend close to half a billion dollars or more on Ohtani, factoring they are invested heavily into three players already?

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Manny Machado, Fernando Tatis Jr., and Xander Bogaerts will all be paid handsomely by the Friars for the next decade-plus.

Then there is Juan Soto, who is due for free agency after the 2024 season. The Padres paid a hefty price tag for his services and will likely do whatever it takes to retain him before he hits the open market. Reports are that Soto is seeking $450-500 million for a dozen years or more.

At some point, the money will run out for the Padres.

Right? Right?

Well, maybe. The San Diego Padres obviously cannot continue to grow their payroll at the rate they have for the past three or four years. That is for sure. At some point, it will all even out, as the team cannot continue to add superstar after superstar each winter. But at what point will the Padres ease up on their spending and just ride with the players they have?

Can they afford Ohtani, and should they explore signing him if Soto remains unsigned heading into his contract year?

There really is no reason to link the San Diego Padres to Shohei Ohtani after the 2023 season.

But that has not stopped this regime from flipping the script in recent years. Expect the Padres to be actively pursuing Ohtani this July and August if the Angels are not in contention. If the Angels choose to trade their superstar, the Padres will be front and center and willing to pay the asking price. They would gladly “rent” Ohtani heading into the 2023 playoffs.

As far as this winter is concerned- the Padres will undoubtedly flirt with the superstar. Contrary to what most believe, they can pay the asking price. But should they? Shohei Ohtani will be the highest-paid player this winter. His contract will eclipse every current deal. And it probably won’t be close.

No logic is involved in the San Diego Padres’ pursuit of Shohei Ohtani. But that won’t stop Peter Seidler and A.J. Preller as they attempt to build a dynasty franchise.

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