San Diego Padres rumors: "Push" for Shohei Ohtani still expected

While the San Diego Padres are reportedly slicing payroll, one MLB insider expects the Friars to also be in the chase to land Shohei Ohtani this offseason.
Los Angeles Angels designated hitter Shohei Ohtani
Los Angeles Angels designated hitter Shohei Ohtani / Kyle Ross-USA TODAY Sports

While every sign and rumor has been pointing toward the San Diego Padres cutting payroll this offseason, one MLB insider writes that the Friars will indeed be in the hunt for superstar Shohei Ohtani.

In his weekly column for USA Today, MLB insider Bob Nightengale writes that the quest for Ohtani will begin at this week's Major League Baseball General Manager Meetings in Scottsdale, Ariz. Ohtani is expected to not re-sign with the Los Angeles Angels, the team he has called home for his first six MLB seasons, while chasing perhaps the most lucrative contract in MLB history.

San Diego Padres listed as a team pushing for Shohei Ohtani

Nightengale writes that the Los Angeles Dodgers are "the overwhelming favorites to sign Ohtani," but there are other teams mentioned as strong possibilities, including the Chicago Cubs, viewed as a "sleeper" pick to land Ohtani this offseason. Following that, Nightengale writes, "The New York Yankees, New York Mets, Toronto Blue Jays, San Francisco Giants, Seattle Mariners, San Diego Padres and Texas Rangers will all make strong pushes."

That's certainly a lot of competition for the Padres, who are likely viewed as longshots to land Ohtani for a number of reasons, including the rumored plans to lower payroll to around $200 million for the 2024 campaign. That number is one of the factors leading to the swirling of rumors around a potential Juan Soto trade this offseason as well. If the Padres aren't willing to spend money on players like Soto, Blake Snell or Josh Hader, is it reasonable to think they could outbid teams for Ohtani?

It certainly seems like a far-fetched idea, yet the Padres continue to be mentioned as possibilities for Ohtani's next landing spot. What is reality and what is rumors won't likely be sorted out until Ohtani signs his massive contract and one team wins the Shohei Sweepstakes.