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MLB rumors: A surprise contender for Shohei Ohtani, Phillies eye new ace, Mets, Yankees talk Manuel Margot

MLB rumors: A surprise contender for Shohei Ohtani, Phillies eye new ace, Mets, Yankees talk Manuel Margot

We’re one week away from Thanksgiving and the MLB Winter Meetings come Dec. 4-7. Basically, we’re still in that period of the offseason where teams are laying foundations for the offseason instead of making big moves. Those won’t happen just yet. It does mean that we’re in the height of rumor season, though, so with that mill churning, let’s gather up the juiciest nuggets. 

A ‘sleeper’ on Ohtani? 

Two-way super-duper star Shohei Ohtani is obviously the big prize of this MLB offseason. Most people believe the Dodgers to be the overwhelming favorite to sign him, but there are many teams interested in his services. One that hasn’t been discussed much but remains an intriguing possibility is the Toronto Blue Jays. Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic calls the Blue Jays a “sleeper” to land Ohtani. 

As a reminder, Ohtani won’t be pitching in 2024 as he recovers from Tommy John surgery. He’ll still be able to DH (look at Bryce Harper’s recovery in 2023 as a guide for how successful he could be). The Blue Jays have a DH opening and Ohtani’s lefty bat would play nicely between right-handed swinging Bo Bichette and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. 

Another Cubs-Ohtani rumor along with more Cubs

There’s been a lot of smoke around the Cubs making a run at Ohtani and we can add Jesse Rogers of ESPN to the mix. In a long story about the matter, he says the “timing could finally be right” for the Cubs and Ohtani to match up.

The Cubs also have an opening at DH in the short-term and should be adding multiple big bats this offseason, assuming they are planning on following up the hire of manager Craig Counsell with a World Series-caliber roster

Speaking of making multiple roster upgrades, Rogers also reports that the Cubs: 

On the subject of Yamamoto … 

The Phillies have done “significant work” on NPB superstar pitcher Yoshinobu Yamamoto, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer

Yamamoto is only 25 years old and has won the Sawamura Award (NPB’s equivalent of the Cy Young) three straight seasons. This past year, he was 17-6 with a 1.16 ERA and 0.86 WHIP with 176 strikeouts in 171 innings in 24 starts. There’s always an adjustment period, but Yamamoto is likely an ace from the second he joins MLB. 

The Phillies already have one frontline starter in Zack Wheeler and it’s possible Ranger Suárez ascends into that territory next season. Aaron Nola is a free agent, however, so there’s a void…

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