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The climax of the Stove League, the Winter Meeting, begins.

The Major League Winter Meeting will be held at a resort in Nashville, Tennessee, USA from the 3rd to the 6th local time.

Starting on the 3rd, teams, agents, and reporters from all over the United States will begin to gather, and it is scheduled to reach its peak on the 4th and 5th. It ends with the Rule 5 Draft, which takes place on the 6th.

As officials from 30 clubs and influential agents all gather, 'big events' take place here.

At last year's Winter Meetings, Aaron Judge re-signed with the New York Yankees for 9 years and $360 million, Trey Turner signed an 11-year, $300 million contract with the Philadelphia Phillies, and Xander Bogaerts signed an 11-year, $280 million contract with the San Diego Padres. , Wilson Contreras agreed to a five-year, $87.5 million contract.

Masataka Yoshida, who attempted to advance to the major leagues through the posting system, surprised everyone by signing a five-year, $90 million contract with the Boston Red Sox as soon as the posting market opened.

Even if a contract is not announced during the winter meeting, there are cases where contract discussions that build momentum during this period bear fruit later. Hyun-Jin Ryu went through this process in December 2019 and signed a four-year, $80 million contract with the Toronto Blue Jays.

Several free agent players and major trade candidates are also receiving attention at this Winter Meeting.

Among them, the player who has attracted the most attention is Shohei Ohtani, the best two-hitting player in Major League Baseball.

It is expected to be the largest contract in Major League history. The New York Post predicted that Otani's price has already exceeded $50,000 and will eventually approach $60,000.

Although he is currently unable to pitch in 2024 due to the aftermath of elbow surgery, and it is unclear whether he will be able to play as a starting pitcher in the future, the 'star power' that he possesses alone seems to be attracting teams like moths to a lamp.

In the face of this heat, Otani and his agent Nezu Valero are maintaining a local 'mysticism' strategy. Valero did not appear at the last general manager's meeting and secretly contacted the club from outside. Ohtani has not given any interviews since early August, when he left the team with an elbow injury.

Therefore, there are expectations that he will need time to decide on a new team. This is because clubs need to confirm his willingness to pitch.

However, it was already too hot to drag it any further. I can't hide anymore.

Otani must make a decision during this winter meeting. He should do that for the other free agents as well. Currently, the remaining field free agent and trade markets are moving very slowly. Because Otani is not moving.

The Toronto Blue Jays, who are in the process of recruiting Ohtani, are also known to have participated in the race to trade outfielder Juan Soto. It is impossible for them to recruit both. Therefore, only when one side makes a decision can the other side move.

Soto's fate is also related to the fate of other free agent outfielders, including Cody Bellinger, Kevin Kiermaier, and Jeong-hoo Lee, whose posting is expected to begin in time for the Winter Meetings.

If Otani, the largest block, moves, it seems likely that the remaining blocks will move in a chain like dominoes.

Movement is also being detected in the Otani camp, which has maintained silence. John Morosi, a major league columnist, predicted that Ohtani will decide on the team by next week, citing sources.
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Sunday, December 3, 2023
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