Six years after being posted to make the jump from Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) as a player who offered intrigue as a potential two-way talent, Shohei Ohtani is now headlining MLB free agency.
He’s proven capable of being an All-Star caliber pitcher and hitter at the Major League level, and is now expected to sign the most lucrative contract in North American sports history.
The Los Angeles Dodgers have long been connected to Ohtani and many consider them the favorite to land the biggest prize in free agency. However, the San Francisco Giants were also reported as being determined to outbid all teams for Ohtani, and the Toronto Blue Jays have lurked as a potential dark-horse.
According to ESPN’s Jeff Passan, the Blue Jays, Chicago Cubs, Dodgers and Los Angeles Angels are still involved in the Ohtani sweepstakes:
Among those confirmed by sources to be still in the bidding: the Los Angeles Dodgers, Chicago Cubs, Toronto Blue Jays and Angels. The San Francisco Giants have long had a fondness for Ohtani, though where they stand in these sweepstakes is unknown.
At the start of the offseason, the Boston Red Sox, New York Mets, New York Yankees and Seattle Mariners were among the teams expected to pursue Ohtani as well. Though, in recent weeks it was reported the Mets and Mariners grew cold on their respective odds.
The Yankees appear to be more focused on Yoshinobu Yamamoto — another Dodgers’ free agency target — and a potential Juan Soto trade.
What does Shohei Ohtani value?
On top of being unlike any other player in MLB history, Ohtani’s free agency is largely a mystery. He reportedly would eliminate a team from consideration if information about their meeting leaked, how much of a factor geography is has been unclear, and so too is a potential willingness to sign a short-term contract.
What is believed to be true is Ohtani valuing an opportunity to compete for a World Series, and that would figure to work in the Dodgers’ favor.
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