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New York Mets done chasing Shohei Ohtani, focusing on this potential star instead

Friday’s MLB rumors and news delivered word that the New York Mets are no longer involved in the Shohei Ohtani sweepstakes this offseason. But that doesn’t mean the Mets are giving up in their quest to add star talent to their roster over the next few weeks.

While some aren’t convinced that the Mets are out on Ohtani until the two-way MLB MVP officially signs a new contract, there is a belief that president David Stearns is focused on other prizes in free agency.

SNY’s Andy Martino says the Mets’ current focus is on signing Japanese All-Star pitcher Yoshinobu Yamamoto instead. With Ohtani not available to pitch this season due to his elbow surgery, Yamamoto is widely considered the top pitcher on the free agent market.

Related: Record-breaking Shohei Ohtani contract could amount to nearly double the New York Mets’ 2023 payroll

Like any other high-profile, there is risk in signing Yamamoto. After all, despite his extended success pitching in the best league in Japanese baseball, there’s always a bit of an adjustment period when transitioning to MLB. Not only on the field but also off the diamond too.

Yet, indications suggest Yamamoto could also become the next Japanese star to take his talent stateside and become a worldwide superstar. While offering a massive nine-figure contract to an unknown commodity is a bit of a gamble, one could reasonably argue the risk against offering him a worthwhile contract is actually greater. For the 29 teams who didn’t sign Ohtani prior to the 2018 season, they learned this lesson the hard way.

If there’s one thing we’ve seen time and time again from the Cohen ownership group in the Big Apple, it’s that they’re not afraid to throw a few dollars around, so why should they flinch at signing Yamamoto?

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