Two-way phenom, Shohei Ohtani, has set the baseball world on fire in the opening weeks of 2018. How would the Yankees be different if he had signed with them?
When Shohei Ohtani was posted to the MLB, many considered the Yankees to be front-runners in the Ohtani sweepstakes. Brian Cashman made it very clear the Yankees were interested, even pleading his case while scaling a building in Stamford, Connecticut.
Regardless of the pursuit by the Yankees, Ohtani never even considered them. The Yankees were told that he wanted to play on the West Coast and in a smaller market. This was obviously disappointing news for fans and the Yankees, but there is nothing Brian Cashman can do about where the Yankees play.
Nonetheless, Ohtani signed with the Angels and he has lived up to the hype thus far. On the mound, he has given up just three runs in 13 innings, while striking out 18 with a high 90’s fastball and devastating splitter. Pitching isn’t all he’s done though. In 33 PA’s, he has posted a 1.191 OPS and has three dingers to go along with that.
The purposes of this article though are not to talk about his success early on. I’m here to examine how the Yankees would be different if he had signed with them, and there is nowhere else to start other than Giancarlo Stanton.
It is safe to say that if the Yankees had signed Ohtani, Stanton would not be a Yankee. There just would not have been room for him. The reason the Yankees were able to make Stanton work was that they had that DH spot to rotate him through. If Ohtani had signed that spot would have been taken up a couple times a week, therefore most likely eliminating Stanton, barring a trade of possibly Brett Gardner.
Shohei Ohtani is a fun player and may be a pretty good hitter, but Stanton is the much better slugger. I think anybody in the big leagues would take Stanton as a consolation prize, after missing out on Ohtani.
Although Ohtani is an exciting hitter, I think he would have made the biggest difference on the mound for the Yankees. All offseason the Yankees talked about getting a starter, and Ohtani would have been a great one at a cheap price. The Yankees would have probably gone to a six-man rotation, which would be something we have never seen in the Bronx for an extended period of time.
Imagining Ohtani on the mound, in pinstripes, does make me a little jealous the Angels got him. I think he will be a dominant pitcher for a long time, and he would have made that Yankee rotation very dangerous in 2018.
Obviously, when you’re thinking about Ohtani with the Yankees, the first thing that you think about is on-field contributions. It is also fun though, to think about what it would have been like off the field, had Ohtani come to the Yankees. The buzz in New York would have been insane. We would have seen jerseys selling at an alarming rate, billboards in the city, extra media and of course, crazy fans.
If Ohtani chose New York and played as well as he is in Anaheim, the fans would be absolutely in love with this guy. Although the buzz is crazy even with the Angels, you can’t help to think what it would have been like in the concrete jungle.
Ohtani has been the best story in baseball and it is hard not to root for a guy who is doing something that no one else has ever done. I will continue to be a huge fan of Ohtani in Anaheim, but it is still fun to imagine what could have been in New York.