The upcoming free agency class will feature fewer impact position players than years past, but one exception could be Los Angeles Angels two-way star Shohei Ohtani, who is on track to reach the open market after the 2023 season.
Ohtani is in the final year of his contract with the Angels, and to this point, has largely dodged questions about his potential free agency. While the organization has made it clear they want to re-sign him, there is a sense that Arte Moreno remaining as owner could lower the chances of that happening.
Ohtani nevertheless is believed to want to remain on the West Coast, and that could bode well for other teams like the Los Angeles Dodgers to enter the mix. Along with his geographical preference, the 28-year-old’s top priority is believed to be winning a World Series.
The Dodgers’ location, recent success and financial flexibility has made them an early favorite to sign Ohtani if he becomes a free agent, per Jon Heyman of the New York Post:
Some folks around baseball see the Dodgers — one of many that will make a play for Shohei Ohtani, baseball’s best player — as the very early favorite for the two-way superstar.
The Dodgers were among the favorites to sign Ohtani when he first made the jump to MLB in 2017, and they also reportedly attempted to acquire him at the trade deadline last year.
The generational talent figures to have a slew of suitors if he becomes a free agent and could command a contract with a total value north of $500 million.
L.A. was said to have been making an effort to get under the luxury tax threshold for the 2023 season in order to pursue Ohtani, but they currently project to exceed it. However, that shouldn’t stop them from making the strongest effort to sign their top target if he reaches free agency.
Will the Angels trade Shohei Ohtani?
As Angels general manager Perry Minasian dispelled Ohtani trade rumors this past offseason, it was reported the team would be more open to moving him at the deadline this year if contract extension negotiations failed.
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