Shohei Ohtani watch has San Diego Padres fans just wanting it to be over

With the San Diego Padres out of the race for Shohei Ohtani, now it's about where he lands and when everyone else will finally sign
Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher Shohei Ohtani
Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher Shohei Ohtani / Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

One of the best comments I heard while at the MLB Winter Meetings earlier this week in Nashville was when a National League general manager told me that the free agent market was "constipated" because of Shohei Ohtani.

I had to laugh a little, but he was spot on. All eyes are of course on Ohtani, especially today with all of the rumors flying around connecting him to the Toronto Blue Jays. But for fans of the San Diego Padres, there is no true vested interest in where Ohtani ends up (except, of course, if he happens to spurn the Los Angeles Dodgers and stay out of the National League West, which would be an answer to many of the Friars fans' prayers). What is of more interest, however, is what happens after Ohtani signs. That's where it gets interesting for the Padres.

San Diego Padres fans just waiting for Shohei Ohtani to sign

That "constipation" in the market comes from plenty of players having their fortunes and futures tied to Ohtani's eventual decision. If the Dodgers don't land him, they will have presumably plenty of move to spend elsewhere, which suddenly could land them in a bidding war for other impact players. Those bidding wars could potentially drive up numbers that A.J. Preller and the Padres would spend on free agents, so the trickle effect is real. The problem is that it's hanging over the offseason like a cloud until Ohtani signs.

Once Ohtani signs, expect a rash of signings to come after that as the teams that were in the race will prioritize what comes next. Baseball players know this as well, so they could be sitting back waiting to see how high the market will go before jumping on a contract from the Padres or another team.

While the Padres aren't in the hunt for Ohtani, they're in the chase for other players who are waiting to see where Ohtani signs. If you're wanting to see San Diego's next move this offseason, you'll likely have to wait until the Ohtani sweepstakes are over.