One of the hottest names out there in MLB right now is Japanese player Shohei Ohtani. The “Japanese Babe Ruth” as some are calling him. This guy can pitch and he can hit and he wants to come to America and play with the best players in the world. Nothing wrong with that right? Well, here is the problem, this guy makes zero sense professionally. Athletes will tell you one of two things usually, one, they play to win championships. Ohtani will not tell you that. The other reason is to get rich, but again Ohtanti will not be telling you that either. No, Ohtanti says he wants people to like him and he wants to judge his career on the amount of applause he gets when he ends up retiring.
Who the hell does this guy think he is? You get referred to as the Japanese Babe Ruth which is arguably the greatest compliment ever and you do not care about money, championships or traditions? Now I get it, it’s a child’s game and he is playing for the love of the game but if that is the case, why not just stay in Japan? This guy passed on millions of dollars to come over here now instead of waiting 2 years. Again, I have no problem with this but what reason is behind coming here if it is all about the fans.
When Ohtani arrived the first teams he ruled out was the Yankees, Red Sox and Twins. It seemed like a very odd move but he made a statement that he wanted to play on the west coast because it was closer to Japan. I get it he wants the flight home to be shorter, no problem with that. However, like everything else this guy does he makes a statement that makes no sense he then says the Cubs and Rangers are still in the hunt. Ohtani, look at a god damn map, Chicago Illinois and Arlington Texas are not on the west coast they are both very much in the mid-west. Ohtani then said he wants to play for a small market team because he is afraid of the big cities. Odd move, like did he think that some place like Waco Texas would have a pro baseball team? But then he keeps L.A. on the list of possible teams he might sign with.
Ohtani sets off a lot of red flags for me and I would pass on him if I was a GM because another thing is his numbers are not as dominating as some think. When compared to guys like Ichiro, Tanaka, Hideki Matsui and other Japanese greats they dominated other players in Japan and was truly the best in their country. Ohtani said himself that there are so many more players that are better pitchers and hitters in Japan than him, this is what he said in an interview with Jon Morosi. The confidence is not there which is yet another red flag. Ohtani might come over and maybe he will be in the same conversation with Ichiro and Matsui but he has seemed more like a confused person rather than a legit pro athlete.
In part one we looked at the pros and cons of this trade from the Cleveland side. This time let’s look at it from Boston’s point of view. Boston ended up getting Kyrie which is arguably a top ten player in the league. However, Boston gave up some great talent which might hurt them down the road.
Losing Isaiah Thomas and Jae Crowder was really the only way they would end up with Kyrie however it might not have been worth it in the long run because we have seen Kyrie be the face of the franchise in Cleveland before Lebron came back and that was not pretty at all. Now I know that some will say “he was still a rookie and young” and other will say “he has matured since then” which is all true points but that is a big risk. Let’s remember when people play with Lebron they seem to get better we seen this with old D-Wade and even guys like JR Smith.
Kyrie has two years left on his deal which is good for Boston. If they can stay as the biggest threat to the Cavs in the Eastern Conference, then there is a better chance Kyrie will stay in Boston and they will have their man (providing he stays as good as he was with Lebron). However, Kyrie did not put Boston on his list of desirable teams he wants to play for which could be a concern because if he leaves after two seasons then Boston will have given up the farm for nothing in return. Another concern is how will he fit into Brad Stevens system in Boston, which is clearly different then whatever Coach Lebron decides to run.
The positive thing is Kyrie is an everyday player and has come up clutch in some big moments. The issue is Kyrie does not know what he wants, this is proven because otherwise he would have stayed in Cleveland for one more year and waited to see if Lebron left. If Lebron does leave Kyrie would have still had a lot of talent surrounding him and he would have been Cleveland’s guy. If Kyrie fits in the system and plays well with Gordon Hayward, then the Cavs Celtics will be the biggest rivalry in the east for a very long time. Kyrie has shaped up to become a terrific player, and could help Boston in a huge way and may be the piece they need to become the best in the east. Especially if Lebron leaves Cleveland and goes to the Western Conference and joins the Lakers like it is rumored.
I will admit that when I first heard about the blockbuster trade between Cleveland and Boston I was not in favor of it. However, as I began to dwell on it more I have determined it is good for both teams (maybe). The reason I say maybe is because it seems more like a spider web of what if’s then having a clear winner.
First let’s start with Cleveland. The Cavs loved Kyrie and rightfully so, that guy was supposed to be the future after Lebron and he made in my opinion hands down the most clutch shot in Cavs history against Golden State in the 2016 finals game 7. Let alone his defense was lockdown, no doubt losing him is hard on the Cavs and their fans.
The Cavs got Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic and the Nets’ 2018 unprotected first-round pick. Now to start with the positives, Isaiah Thomas is a star in this league and has even in talk for MVP last year. Furthermore, Thomas has proven he can play with a heavy heart and still preform, he proved this last year in the playoffs after the death of his sister. Thomas has also proven he can be the number one guy which is great for Cleveland consider all the rumors that Lebron may leave after this year.
Jae Crowder and Ante Zizic are both nice big guys to have on a team that seems is ran by all guards. Crowder can not only help in the rebound department but the dude can also shoot well for a guy of his size. The fact that the Cavs get the Nets #1 pick in 2018 is a plus because that is very likely to end up being a top 5 pick in the draft.
Now this is where it gets messy for the Cavs. Thomas injured his hip last season and decided against having surgery on it. This could set up problems because if Thomas goes down then ultimately the Cavs gave up Kyrie for Jae Crowder, which is not great if you are a Cavs fan. Furthermore, Thomas wants to be a max contract player which is a double-edged sword for the Cavs, if he stays healthy and Lebron leaves then the Cavs still have a young future player who has proven he can be a number one player on the team. However, if Lebron stays who knows if Thomas will take a pay cut. Thomas defense is also nowhere near the caliber of Kyrie which is an issue when playing a team like Golden State in the finals let alone the issue of the size of Thomas against a giant Golden State team.