Shohei Ohtani Rumors: Dodgers ‘Cautiously Optimistic’ About Chances Of Signing

Shohei Ohtani is the top free agent available this season, and likely the top player to ever reach the open market, so he is set to become the highest-paid player in MLB history and is of course the focus of the offseason.

The Los Angeles Dodgers are the reported front-runners to sign him based on their deep pockets, location, winning history and desire to add him. They are also going to face competition from the Los Angeles Angels, Seattle Mariners, San Francisco Giants, Texas Rangers, New York Mets, New York Yankees, and every other team with deep pockets.

Dodgers president of baseball is reportedly “obsessed” with Ohtani and will do his best to put the team in position to sign him, but it will take more than just his efforts.

To land the two-way star, it’s going to take an all-out approach from ownership down, and according to Jack Harris of the L.A. Times, the club has hope they’ll be able to sign him:

The two-way star will be a top priority for the Dodgers this winter. The team is cautiously optimistic about its chances of signing him, hopeful it checks as many boxes as any other suitor.

When Ohtani was first coming to MLB, the Dodgers met with and made every effort to sign him, but Clayton Kershaw and Justin Turner, who were part of their meeting, felt it was a waste of time because of the lack of the designated hitter at the time.’

This time around, that won’t be a problem for the Dodgers.

Ohtani hasn’t spoken much about his contract or free agency, but he has said winning will be a priority after missing the playoffs every season with the Angels.

He also only considered one team that was not on the West Coast, which was the Chicago Cubs, the last time he had his choice of teams. Both of those things bode well for the Dodgers.

The former and likely 2023 American League MVP recorded 44 home runs, 95 RBI, and 78 extra base hits while leading the Majors in slugging (.654), OPS (1.066), and bWAR (10.0). He also finished with a 3.14 ERA and 167 strikeouts in 132 innings, and his 31.5% strikeout rate ranked second in the AL.

Shohei Ohtani may prefer short-term contract

While most predict Ohtani will receive a massive deal lasting a decade or longer, there’s also a sentiment that he may be willing to sign a shorter-term contract that includes an opt-out clause in order to re-establish his value as an elite starting pitcher.

If Ohtani is open to signing a contract that is higher in average annual value (AAV) in exchange for not as many years, that could align well with a philosophy Friedman has attempted to use on star players in previous years.

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