The calm prior to Shohei Ohtani and his free agency storm is approaching following the conclusion of the 2023 World Series, all included, will have heavy implications on the future of the Los Angeles Angels.
Since joining the Angels, Ohtani has changed the rulebooks, record books, and the overall urgency in the organization’s front office. During Joe Maddon’s tenure from 2020-to-2022, he saw firsthand how the two-way star operated on a daily basis.
Ohtani elevated his game from just getting his foot in the door of Major League Baseball, to grabbing a stranglehold on the entire view of how unique he is. With an impending open market that holds a full slate of suitors, He stands to receive a record-breaking contact.
Joe Maddon discussed the whirlwind that’ll be Ohtani’s free agency in an appearance on Foul Territory:
“You work very hard to get to this particular juncture in your professional career and the rules are set up for him to do that. … He does want to win, and believe me, that’s not just lip service, he truly wants to win. I do believe that he’s going to go to a team that in his mind’s eye could be an annual contender. Annually get him to the playoffs. Annually give him that opportunity to pitch and hit on the largest stage.”
Ohtani never played in a single postseason game with the Angels, and the biggest stage was in the 2023 World Baseball Classic, when he threw the final pitch that brought home the championship for Team Japan. Now that he’s proven to not only himself and MLB that he can be the best in the sport, his options are endless and only he knows what he covets out of his next destination:
“The other point that I believe is that when he first got over here, he wanted to be on the west coast because it’s closer to Japan, obviously, and possibly more cultural similarities as opposed to different parts of the country. After being through the league several times and after all the successes he’s had, I believe that he’ll go anywhere from New York to Toronto to Seattle, to San Diego, whatever he’ll go anywhere because I think he’s been more Americanized in the sense that he’s comfortable with a lot of different things — he knows how this works.”
He’s lined up to win his second American League MVP Award, following a regular season that saw him lead the AL in home runs, slugging percentage, wOBA, walk-rate, and fWAR(6.6).
Pedro Martinez predicts next stop for Shohei Ohtani
Although his final year with the Angels didn’t go as planned for both he and the team, the all-in deadline approach was an admirable attempt to make a run for the postseason. The Angels have a clean slate looking head, and the speculation for Ohtani is very alive.
Pedro Martinez lobbed a prediction that Ohtani would be heading to the East Coast to play for the Boston Red Sox as his next stop.
Make sure to follow Angels Nation on Twitter for all the latest news and updates surrounding the Halos!