Braves Not Confirming Interest in Hot Prospect Othani

Atlanta Braves general manager Alex Anthopoulos set the record straight Tuesday evening about rumors and speculation that sought-after free agent Shohei Ohtani could be added to the Braves starting pitching lineup.

Anthopoulos told the press at Major League Baseball’s Winter Meetings in Nashville that Jarred Kelenic, the outfielder the Braves acquired from the Seattle Mariners recently, was the only position player the team pursued this year and would not confirm speculation that the Braves were in the running for Ohtani. The Kelenic and pitcher Aaron Bummer deals were all that he would confirm to the press. He said he could not discuss free agents.

“We are very happy with our position,” said Anthopoulous this afternoon. “We have very good offense last year…we have not explored any other position presently at any capacity, at any time.”

“Anyone speculating anything beyond that, somebody decided to make stuff up, that’s it,” he added.

Persistent rumors of where Ohtani, one of the hottest prospects to come out of Nippon Professional Baseball, have popped up repeatedly. The latest report from ESPN quotes LA Dodgers manager Dave Roberts meeting with Ohtani for 2-3 hours today. Roberts confirmed the Dodgers are pursuing him.

“Clearly,” said Roberts, “Shohei’s our top priority.”

The Athletic reported that Othani met with the Toronto Blue Jays on Monday. There are also reports the Chicago Cubs, L.A. Angels, and San Francisco Giants are (or were) interested in the pitcher, outfielder, and designated hitter.