Shohei Ohtani had been the talk of baseball all year for his contributions as a two-way player with the Los Angeles Angels and impeding free agency that could land him a record contract. Now, Ohtani is officially on the open market, creating even more buzz about his forthcoming decision.
The 29-year-old has drawn interest from many teams and is in line to sign a deal of at least $500 million this offseason. However, there is a belief Ohtani may be open to signing a short-term contract that would allow him to re-establish his value as an elite starting pitcher, which should end up breaking the annual average record values.
There’s also been talk that Ohtani has already decided which team he would like to play for and it’ll just come down to receiving a fair offer and working out the contract details.
If that’s the case, he should sign pretty quickly in the process, and that’s the feeling around baseball as well. According to ESPN’s Jeff Passan, Ohtani could potentially choose his next team before the start of the MLB Winter Meetings in early December:
The expectation among teams involved is that Ohtani could move relatively quickly — perhaps even before the Dec. 4-7 winter meetings, according to sources.
The MLB offseason has been relatively quiet so far as teams and free agents wait for Ohtani to make a decision. A potential signing in the next two weeks could create a domino effect and lead to a flurry of players coming off the board.
While Ohtani hasn’t given any indication on what his plans might be, the Los Angeles Dodgers are widely considered the favorites to sign him due to their geographic location and recent history of winning.
A recent report also suggested that Ohtani deeply respects the Dodgers for their ability to develop players and progressive coaching methods.
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). 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 on the mound (23 starts).
Shohei Ohtani makes MLB history with 2nd unanimous MVP Award
Ohtani was named the 2023 American League MVP winner after receiving all 30 first-place votes. He became the first player in MLB history to unanimously win two MVP Awards.
Ohtani won his first AL MVP in 2021 and was runner-up to New York Yankees slugger Aaron Judge last year.
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