The buzz is alive and well that Shohei Ohtani could sign before the start of the Winter Meetings. And, like many predicted over the last year or so, the Los Angeles Dodgers are the suspected top landing spot for the MVP.
Over the weekend, insiders weighed in on the likelihood of this happening, in addition to the ripple effects it will have. But LA fans shouldn't get ahead of themselves. While Ohtani, on paper, might stand to make the logical decision of signing with the best-run organization in the sport, his buttoned-up free agency tour remains mysterious.
Trusted MLB insiders Mark Feinsand and Jon Morosi talked about Ohtani's free agency over the weekend and were split on the outcome. Feinsand said he would take the Dodgers over the field, while Morosi said the field is the "stronger" prediction (despite him believing LA has more than a 50% chance to sign Ohtani).
And then there's Bob Nightengale, who reported the San Francisco Giants plan to out-bid the Dodgers for Ohtani if push comes to shove. But do we believe that?
Don't know, but we will say Nightengale deserves credit for nailing Aaron Nola's return to Philly when he reported the talks heating up just hours before the two sides agreed to a deal. As we noted previously, the Dodgers were in on the bidding.
While their reported $165 million offer is nothing to sneeze at, it was only $3 million higher than the Braves' bid, and it didn't give Nola much of a reason to jettison the only organization he's ever known. If the Dodgers want to swipe free agents from desirable destinations, they'll have to be more aggressive.
Turns out, however, that it wouldn't have really mattered. Per David Vassegh of AM 570 LA Sports, Nola didn't want to play in Los Angeles. Some might scoff at that, but the right-hander grew up in Baton Rouge, LA (and went to LSU) and has been with the Phillies since 2014 (and previously signed a team-friendly extension with them). Does that sound like somebody who wanted to leave for a bigger market further away from home?
As for another unlikely occurrence, MLB insider Ken Rosenthal threw cold water on the Dodgers' chances of trading for Brewers stars Corbin Burnes and Willy Adames -- a package LA fans have been fantasizing about for years now. That, however, didn't stop the hypothetical discussion.
Anthony Castrovince of MLB.com came up with six blockbuster trades for this offseason over the holiday and once again strengthened the link between LA and Milwaukeee. He thinks a package of Gavin Lux and Emmet Sheehan can bring Burnes and Adames to the west coast ... but we're not so sure of that.
Lux is coming off a torn ACL and still hasn't really proved himself at the big-league level. Sheehan has looked promising, but the jury's still out on the right-hander. We're not saying the Brewers wouldn't be taking any risks in making such a trade, but if they're packaging both of these players, there probably needs to be a bit more certainty (or at least a more promising prospect package).
Nonetheless, at least a lot of the discourse is trending in the Dodgers' direction. Can't complain about that.