How the Shohei Ohtani UCL injury affects the pursuit of Yoshinobu Yamamoto

Los Angeles Angels v Philadelphia Phillies
Los Angeles Angels v Philadelphia Phillies / Mitchell Leff/GettyImages

Many fans around baseball, especially New York Mets fans, were devastated to learn of Shohei Ohtani's UCL injury which most likely will result in another dreaded Tommy John surgery for Ohtani. There are also significant market ramifications moving forward for both Ohtani and the Mets, as well as prized Japanese pitcher Yoshinobu Yamamoto.

The Mets along with many other teams were expected to be in pursuit of one of the highest-profile free agents in baseball history this winter with Shohei Ohtani expecting to command the largest contract in baseball history with his two-way ability. Unfortunately, Ohtani's price point has likely shrunk with the injury as he will be limited to designated hitter duties for the foreseeable future.

The Mets' pursuit of Yoshinobu Yamamoto may have gotten a bit more complicated with Shohei Ohtani's injury

On the other side of the coin, Yamamoto's market may have never been hotter, as unfortunately due to the Ohtani injury, Yamamoto no longer resembles a consolation prize for teams who miss out on the injured two-way star. Yamamoto instantly rises as arguably the top pitcher to be had on the free agent market, which will make the bidding process very interesting when he is eventually posted this winter.

The Mets may have to come forward with a much larger bid for Yamamoto's services, as many teams who may have been counting on utilizing Ohtani on the mound next season will not have the ability to do so. There is also no real timeframe on if or when he will be able to take the mound in the future.

The Mets already seem to have a leg up on many teams when it comes to scouting Yamamoto, but the competition from other organizations around the league will be fierce. The Mets also have the funds to make a very competitive offer for his services which can play in their favor, but there are other big market teams such as the Los Angeles Dodgers who could offer both Ohtani and Yamamoto competitive deals due to Ohtani's injury.

Regardless of those previous points, Ohtani's elbow injury has significantly shifted the landscape of the upcoming free-agent market, and the Mets will be one of many teams affected by it, especially with their already well-known interest in Yamamoto.