Happy Sunday, baseball fans. We’ve got awards week coming, with Rookie of the Year on Monday, Manager of the Year Tuesday, Cy Young Wednesday and MVP on Thursday. There’s also the deadline for players to accept or reject qualifying offers on Tuesday. It’s a busy week for the doldrums of the offseason, so make sure to stay on top of everything with Mike Axisa’s key dates guide.
As for the rumor mill, we’ve got you covered right here.
If Shohei Ohtani doesn’t re-sign with the Angels or go to the Dodgers — a big if, obviously — “some executives predict” he’ll end up with the Rangers or Cubs, while the Giants could have the highest offer, according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today.
Though nearly all logic points to the Dodgers as the eventual Ohtani landing spot, there’s actually been a lot of smoke around the Cubs lately. The defending champion Rangers make a lot of sense, too.
More than anything, let’s brace ourselves for a fun offseason of Ohtani rumors.
No Ohtani for Mets, but Yamamoto?
The Mets believe “they have no realistic chance to land Ohtani,” reports Nightengale. But they “have their eyes on” NPB ace Yoshinobu Yamamoto, who is expected to be posted soon.
The Mets’ rotation is mostly a mess, but Japanese import Kodai Senga had a very good rookie year in 2023, going 12-7 with a 2.98 ERA and 202 strikeouts in 166 1/3 innings. Yamamoto is younger and better. He’s 25 and last season went 17-6 with a 1.16 ERA and 0.86 WHIP with 176 strikeouts in 171 innings.
Cubs also eye Hoskins
The Cubs have been connected to Ohtani more and more in the past week and they are also heavily connected with free agent Cody Bellinger, who had a huge year with them last season. On top of that, the Cubs “view Rhys Hoskins as a good fit for their roster,” according to The Athletic.
Hoskins, 30, missed all of last season after tearing his ACL late in spring training. He hit .246/.332/.462 (123 OPS+) with 33 doubles, 30 homers and 79 RBI in 2022 before hitting six homers and driving home 12 runs in 17 playoff games. While Bellinger mostly plays center field, it doesn’t seem likely that the Cubs would bring back Bellinger and sign Hoskins, so consider him an alternative in case Bellinger signs elsewhere.
Ross doesn’t want a demotion
The Yankees have asked David Ross about their bench coach vacancy, where he could be the right-hand man for manager Aaron Boone, but Ross — less than a week after being replaced as Cubs manager by Craig Counsell — doesn’t want to take a step backward in the dugout hierarchy. According to The Athletic, Ross would prefer to only return to the dugout as manager and isn’t inclined to accept a lesser role.