Shohei Ohtani Rumors: Signing Short-Term Contract Considered Possibility

Coming off six impressive seasons with the Los Angeles Angels, Shohei Ohtani is a free agent for the first time since making the jump to Major League Baseball from Nippon Professional Baseball.

Unlike in that instance when Ohtani’s earning potential was limited by international posting rules because of his age and experience, he now is expected to sign a contract of at least $500 million.

Although the likes the of the Los Angeles Dodgers, San Francisco Giants, Seattle Mariners and more teams are facing the prospect of a potential bidding war, there’s some belief Ohtani has already decided which team he’ll sign with.

Meanwhile, there’s also a sentiment that Ohtani 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, via Kiley McDaniel of ESPN:

There’s some growing buzz that Ohtani will want to answer this question by signing a shorter deal, then pitching in 2025 (and maybe 2026) before hitting the market again to cash in, but also maximize his earnings this winter. This would mean signing for something like a six-year deal at a high AAV (let’s say $55-60 million per year) with an opt-out or two that he intends on using.

Ohtani’s 2023 season was impacted by needing a second Tommy John surgery of his career. The operation prevented him from pitching after throwing just 1.1 innings on August 23. As a pitcher this year he went 10-5 with a 3.14 ERA and 1.06 WHIP in 23 starts.

In his career, the right-hander 38-19 with a 3.01 ERA and 1.08 WHIP in 86 starts.

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 Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman has often attempted to lure top free agents with.

Shohei Ohtani continued hitting

While Ohtani dealt with UCL trouble in his right elbow throughout various points this past season, he hardly appeared to be affected at the plate.

He finished the season batting .304/.412/.654 with 26 doubles, 44 home runs, 95 RBI and 20 stolen bases. He led the American League in home runs and had the top overall slugging percentage and on-base plus slugging (1.066).

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