Shohei Ohtani is a free agent for the first time since making the jump to Major League Baseball from Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) in 2017.
Ohtani drew interest from a plethora of teams when he was posted six years ago, including from big-market behemoths such as the Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Yankees.
However, Ohtani eliminated the Yankees from consideration due to his reported preference of playing on the West Coast. There was also speculation Ohtani wanted to play for a team that didn’t have a Japanese superstar before him.
As Ohtani evaluates options in free agency, he is reportedly more focused on finding an ideal ballpark for his swing and doesn’t necessarily care about geographic location, per Alden González of ESPN:
“This time around, though, people throughout the industry believe that is no longer the case. At least not to the same extent.
A factor that might be more important, one person familiar with Ohtani’s thinking said: the ballpark, and Ohtani’s comfort within it.”
It was previously reported that Ohtani prefers to remain on the West Coast and specifically Southern California, but nothing is seemingly set in stone. If the 29-year-old is willing to play in other regions, it would open the door for even more teams to bid on his services.
The Los Angeles Dodgers are considered the strong favorite to sign Ohtani, but the Boston Red Sox, Chicago Cubs, San Francisco Giants and Toronto Blue Jays, among several other teams, are also said to be interested in the two-way superstar.
Location aside, Ohtani’s left-handed swing would be a nice fit at Dodger Stadium. Ditto for Fenway Park, Wrigley Field and many other ballparks.
Dodgers most likely to sign Shohei Ohtani to long-term contract
If Ohtani chooses to sign with the Dodgers, he will most likely receive a long-term contract from them. There is some belief that Ohtani could sign a short-term deal that would allow him to re-establish his value as a pitcher, but such a scenario may only exist with the Angels.
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