It's no secret around baseball that next offseason the New York Mets are going to be prominent players in the Shohei Ohtani sweepstakes that are bound to dominate sports headlines all winter. As a matter of fact, the 28-year-old two-way phenom is widely expected to be the first player to eclipse the $500 million mark in his next contract.
However, the Mets aren't going to be the only players in on the Ohtani sweepstakes, as I believe three teams are realistic contenders to turn our sweet dreams of Ohtani taking the mound and stepping in the batter's box in Flushing in 2024 into a nightmare. Ohtani may be one of the most pursued free agents in baseball history and for good reason.
I also wouldn't be surprised to see teams outside of these three possible landing spots clear payroll before the start of free agency if they believe they have a legitimate shot to obtain Ohtani's services. One thing is for sure, the Mets aren't going to be outbid with Owner Steve Cohen's checkbook available, but if anybody is going to give the Mets a run for their money it will be these three organizations.
1) NY Mets competitor: Los Angeles Dodgers
If there is one organization that could compete with the Mets dollar for dollar in Major League Baseball it is none other than the Los Angeles Dodgers. For Ohtani, he wouldn't have to travel too far as he already plays his home games in Southern California, and he would simply just be switching leagues, as well as traveling about 30 miles north to call Dodger Stadium home.
The Dodgers surprisingly didn't make very many major moves this offseason and you can't help but wonder if their light spending is a sign they will be in heavy pursuit of Ohtani next winter. Interestingly enough, the Dodgers have been over the competitive balance tax threshold over the last two seasons, which could be a huge reason why they have cut down on spending as they make a possible play for the two-way star.
If there is one organization I'd be worried about the most in potentially stealing Ohtani away from the Mets it would be the Dodgers. From the simple fact the Dodgers have the ability to spend money like the Mets, Ohtani is already familiar with Southern California, and the Dodgers have a winning pedigree as kings of the National League West over the last several years which could be enticing.