STL Cards in odds race for Shohei Ohtani, but with plenty of competition

The St. Louis Cardinals don’t have the best odds to land Shohei Ohtani but can their winning culture and Ohtani’s new relationship with Lars Nootbaar be convincing enough to land the former MVP?

Shohei Ohtani’s free agency has been and will continue to be a major talking point throughout the 2023 season. He’s on a Los Angeles Angels team that hasn’t won anything since he got there, and with Ohtani looking to win, all signs point to him leaving.

Ohtani is expected to fetch the largest contract in MLB history, perhaps even eclipsing the $500 million mark. Assuming he does reach free agency, this whole Ohtani experience will be nothing like what we’ve ever seen before.

The St. Louis Cardinals are not a team you’d think as likely to land Ohtani but do have the seventh-best odds at landing him according to Sports Lens. When you really think about it, they might have everything Ohtani would want to get a deal done.

Can the Cardinals land Shohei Ohtani?

The odds Ohtani actually lands in St. Louis are slim. The reason for that comes down to money. It’s very hard to see the Cardinals competing financially for a player like Ohtani with teams who will want him like the Dodgers, Mets, Cubs, and even Angels. While they’re slim, I don’t think the Cards should be ruled out completely.

Ohtani has become good friends with Cardinals outfielder Lars Nootbaar who’s playing for Team Japan alongside Ohtani in the World Baseball Classic. Nootbaar could be a guy who can recruit Ohtani.

A big reason why Shohei would want to leave the Angels is the fact that they’ve been uncompetitive. The Halos haven’t made the postseason once with Ohtani and haven’t even finished with a winning record.

The Cardinals have strung together 15 consecutive winning seasons. They’ve had winning records in 22 of the last 23 seasons. They’ve proven better than just about anyone that they’re all about winning. They’ve made the postseason in each of the last four seasons and look to be the favorite in a weak NL Central once again.

The best chance the Cardinals have, at least in my opinion, at landing Ohtani would be acquiring him in a trade and extending him. St. Louis will not outbid a team like the Dodgers for his services, but he could be enticed to stay if the Redbirds traded for him and offered him something in the ballpark of what the Dodgers would.

The Cardinals have the prospects to get a deal like this done with guys like Jordan Walker and Masyn Winn capable of being in a package like this, but it’s hard to see the Angels parting ways unless they’re far out of contention, and it’s hard to see the Cards doing this for only half a year guaranteed of Ohtani.

The odds Ohtani lands in the midwest appear slim, but looking at his relationship with Nootbaar along with the proven record of winning the Cardinals have, they shouldn’t be counted out.

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