Shohei Ohtani Rumors: Contract Talks Expected To Increase After Thanksgiving

Although the MLB hot stove has started to heat up with Aaron Nola representing the first big signing, the industry is still mostly stalled amid a wait for Shohei Ohtani’s free agency decision as he is the most coveted available player of all-time.

While most clubs are going to check in on Ohtani to see if he’s interested in joining them, his decision is likely to come down to a big market team on the West Coast with the ability to win on a consistent basis.

Because of that, the Los Angeles Dodgers are the favorites to sign Ohtani, but the two-way star tends to keep his life as private as possible, so it’s hard to get a perfect read on what he desires.

However, the feeling among MLB executives is Ohtani will likely sign before or during the Winter Meetings that begin on December 4. There’s also an expectation negotiations with teams should really start to pick up after the Thanksgiving holiday, according to Mark Feinsand of

Those talks will likely begin to heat up after Thanksgiving, with many industry insiders predicting that Ohtani could make his decision by next month’s Winter Meetings in Nashville.

The 29-year-old is expected to sign a deal of at least $500 million this offseason. However, there is a belief Ohtani may be open to a short-term contract that would allow him to re-establish his value as an elite starting pitcher, which would end up breaking the annual average record value.

Despite the hefty financial commitment, the Dodgers reportedly have Ohtani as their top priority with both ownership and president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman determined to bring the two-way star into the organization. ESPN’s Jeff Passan also reported that Ohtani deeply respects the Dodgers for their ability to develop players and progressive coaching methods, making it an ideal fit for the two sides.

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). As a pitcher 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 across 23 starts.

Although he is going to miss the 2024 season as a pitcher, Ohtani still presents the top offensive player available on the market and he is expected to be ready to pitch again in 2025.

Shohei Ohtani prioritizing best fit over contract value

The consensus around MLB executives is Ohtani is focused on finding the best fit more so than maximizing his earnings.

When Ohtani left Nippon Professional Baseball in 2017, he passed on the opportunity to sign a lucrative contract with the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters in favor of making the jump to MLB. He ultimately joined the Los Angeles Angels and received a modest $2.315 million signing bonus while being limited to a rookie scale contract due to international signing rules.

While he may take a lower salary, Ohtani still makes up for it with endorsement deals and marketing that exceed the total of the next highest MLB player by nearly six times as much.

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