The San Diego Padres have already been named as "front runners" as a possible landing spot for two-way superstar Shohei Ohtani if he chooses to leave the Los Angeles Angels. One MLB insider, however, believes that Ohtani will indeed be looking for a new team in 2024.
Shohei Ohtani rumors: Did San Diego Padres just lose a competitor in the sweepstakes?
According to MLB insider Ken Rosenthal, the Angels will not be in the running for Ohtani when his contract with the team dissolves at the conclusion of this season.
That is good news for the Padres, one of just a handful of MLB teams that is expected to have the kind of capital to lure the 28-year-old phenom to their franchise for the next installment of his MLB career. Ohtani has been a member of the Angels since making his MLB debut in 2018.
What might be not so good news, however, is that the rival Los Angeles Dodgers have often been mentioned as the early leader in the Ohtani sweepstakes. Not landing Ohtani this offseason might be something that Padres fans can get past. Seeing Ohtani call Chavez Ravine home? Well, that's something completely different.
ESPN's Buster Olney has written that Angels owner Arte Moreno "does not want to be remembered as the guy who pushed this generation's Babe Ruth out of his organization." With that in mind, the Padres and other teams may not have to worry about what it would take to land Ohtani at this year's MLB trade deadline. However, it's clear that Padres fans would not want 17-year-old Ethan Salas to be a part of any kind of trade package to land Ohtani or any other MLB superstar.
If the Angels are out of the equation, could the Padres now have a better chance at landing Ohtani than before? It's possible, and something worth keeping an eye on as the trade deadline draws near.