The biggest question across the league that needs to be answered this offseason is where will Shohei Ohtani end up signing. The usual suspects like the Dodgers and Giants are clearly involved, the Angels would love to bring him back, and probably half the league is searching couch cushions for extra cash to at least have a conversation about signing him. However, one name that shocked pretty much everyone that popped up today was the Atlanta Braves.
When MLB Network's Jon Morosi gave an update today on where Shohei's free agency stands as of now as well as what his mindset is, the Braves got a very prominent and very surprising mention.
Shohei Ohtani is "intrigued" by the idea of playing for the Braves
Just so there is no confusion, the Braves are still a very, very heavy underdogs to sign Ohtani. Not only is Ohtani both hurt which means he can't pitch in 2024 and going to cost half a billion dollars to sign which Atlanta has never come close to doing, but the Braves payroll situation is pretty tight at the moment. They are right up against the luxury tax right now and they still very much need to add a starting pitcher to help them next season.
However, it was pretty surprising to see the Braves mentioned at all. Morosi was more trying to convey that Shohei is much more concerned about going to a winning team (and the Braves certainly qualify there) than financial or geographic considerations. When you factor the Ohtani connection in with the news that the Braves payroll is expected to go up, well....let's just say it is fun to dream about seeing Shohei in a Braves uniform even if the chances of that happening are close to zero.
That said, fans are probably better off expecting that the Braves are going to be looking at a higher end starting pitcher this offseason.