After six seasons as a two-way All-Star with the Los Angeles Angels, Shohei Ohtani is a free agent for the first time since making the jump to Major League Baseball.
Ohtani will have many suitors this offseason, but the Los Angeles Dodgers are widely considered the favorites to sign him due to their geographic location and recent history of winning.
In addition to those factors, Ohtani appreciates the Dodgers’ success with developing players and their coaching methods, via ESPN’s Jeff Passan:
Ohtani, according to multiple sources, has expressed affinity for certain teams and cities in the past. He deeply respects the Los Angeles Dodgers’ winning ways, their ability to develop players and their progressive coaching approach.
The Dodgers have won the National League West in 10 of the last 11 seasons, and during that span captured three pennants and one World Series title.
Key to the historic stretch has been the organization’s ability to consistently develop players and help others get their careers back on track. Ohtani is one of the most forward-thinking players in the sport, which makes him a natural fit for the Dodgers.
The 29-year-old is expected to sign a record-breaking contract this offseason, though he reportedly could be open to a short-term deal that includes an opt-out clause in order to re-establish his value as an elite starting pitcher.
Shohei Ohtani’s 2023 season
The presumed 2023 American League MVP Award winner, Ohtani hit a stellar .304/.412/.654 with 26 doubles, eight triples, 44 home runs, 95 RBI and 20 stolen bases in 599 plate appearances this past season (135 games).
On the mound he went 10-5 with a 3.14 ERA, 4.00 FIP, 1.06 WHIP and 11.4 strikeouts per nine in 132 innings pitched (23 starts).
Ohtani’s 2023 season was cut short after he tore the UCL in his right elbow during a start against the Cincinnati Reds on August 23. He underwent elbow surgery that is expected to sideline him as a pitcher in 2024.
Ohtani also missed most out September due to an oblique injury but is expected to be full go in Spring Training. He will be a full-time designated hitter next season and should return to the mound in 2025.
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