It's officially that time of year again, the in-between time of the GM and Winter Meetings. Fans begin to attempt to map their favorite team’s moves, team officials are preparing multiple offseason acquisition plans, and media members speculate where players will go based on information they have acquired throughout their work.
The Athletic’s Jim Bowden has put together his top 40 MLB free agent list (subscription required) with some interesting predictions. In particular, there were six free agents The Athletic thinks will fit the Philadelphia Phillies roster.
The number one free agent on the list is number one on everybody’s list. That man is Shohei Ohtani. Ohtani is truly one of the greatest baseball talents of all time. Last season, he hit for a .304 batting average, a .412 on-base percentage, and a .654 OPS, 44 home runs, 95 runs batted in, 102 runs scored, and 20 stolen bases. Ohtani's stats as a pitcher are also impressive, as he posted a 10-5 record, a 3.14 ERA, 167 strikeouts, and 55 walks in 23 starts over 132 innings.
What else can someone say about the athletic and baseball marvel that is Shohei Ohtani that hasn’t been said? The stats and the hyperbole speak for themselves when describing Ohtani’s play. Ohtani’s skillset would play well with what the Phillies need in their lineup. That is a hitter who is a reliable hitter with runners in scoring position (.317 batting average and 41 RBI in 2023), barrels up baseballs (he led the MLB in barrel rate at 19.1 percent), and can use the entire diamond to record a hit.
Ohtani’s elite level of hitting would slide right into the Phillies' lineup and make it a legitimate juggernaut. On the pitching front, Ohtani provides a number one type of starter alongside one of the best starting pitchers in the league, Zack Wheeler. It’s an obvious statement, but Shohei Ohtani certainly would fit with the Phillies.