Shohei Ohtani was officially posted on Friday, which means we’re about to embark on a wild three weeks. Ohtani has until Dec. 22 to decide which major league team made the best pitch, and you can bet the rumor mill is about to get pretty crazy.
Wait, did we say about to? We meant already is after MLB.com released a February interview where Ohtani seemed to dismiss Philadelphia as a potential landing spot.
Speaking to Jon Morosi, Ohtani specifically mentioned the Rocky Balboa statue in Philadelphia as a place he’s anxious to visit in the United States. He also mentioned being a fan of steaks. Both of those comments probably sounded encouraging to Phillies fans, but the interview took a quick turn when Morosi brought up Philadelphia as a potential future home.
Shohei Ohtani obliterated the Philadelphia Phillies, alas pic.twitter.com/Asam3vY7qt
— John Trupin (@JohnTrupin) December 1, 2017
The text reads:
MLB.com: What do you like about daily life in the United States?
Ohtani: I’ve only been to Hawaii and Arizona, but I like the huge steaks.
MLB.com: What cities are you curious about and would like to see?
Ohtani: The Rocky Balboa statue, I want a picture of that.
MLB.com: Philadelphia has a baseball team, you know.
Ohtani: No, I just want to visit there.
Cue the sad trombone.
Where the outstanding two-way star will end up is still anybody’s guess. There are clear favorites, like the Yankees, Cubs and Dodgers. There are also clear long shots, like the Rockies and Pirates, for example. Then there are potential sleepers. The Minnesota Twins and San Diego Padres stand out in the group.
Where the rebuilding Phillies stand among them is something only Ohtani really knows. His February comments weren’t exactly a ringing endorsement, but that doesn’t necessarily mean he was outright dismissing the Phillies or the city of Philadelphia. And even if he was, he could always change his mind if the Phillies start giving the right answers.
With their rebuild appearing to turn the corner, the Phillies would seem to have a lot of good answers to give. Their appeal is growing, and landing a free agent like Ohtani would be a huge piece of the puzzle. That alone is a pretty solid selling point.
In the end though, it’s all going to come down to what Ohtani wants. Right now, no one knows exactly what that is, well, aside from knowing he wants to remain a two-way player. More importantly, no one knows how much his mind could change over the next 21 days.
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