As the Los Angeles Angels continue their search for a new manager, they are also navigating the reality that Shohei Ohtani has reached free agency and will soon be permitted to speak to other teams.
Even after undergoing elbow surgery that will sideline him as a pitcher next year, Ohtani is still expected to command the biggest contract in MLB history this offseason, with a potential salary that could reach $500 million.
The Los Angeles Dodgers have long been viewed as the biggest threat to sign Ohtani away from the Angels due to their geographic location and recent history of winning.
According to Bob Nightengale of USA Today, the Dodgers remain the favorite to sign Ohtani, but the Chicago Cubs, Boston Red Sox and other teams are expected to make a strong push as well:
The Los Angeles Dodgers are the overwhelming favorites to sign Ohtani.
The Chicago Cubs are the sleeper pick, several GMs say, particularly with $43 million coming off their books with the expiration of Jason Heyward’s contract and Marcus Stroman opting out.
The Boston Red Sox, with new GM Craig Breslow, are expected to be heavily considered.
The New York Yankees, New York Mets, Toronto Blue Jays, San Francisco Giants, Seattle Mariners, San Diego Padres and Texas Rangers will all make strong pushes.
The Cubs, Red Sox and other East Coast teams being linked to Ohtani is interesting as it was originally thought the two-way star preferred to stay on the West Coast.
If Ohtani shows a willingness to play elsewhere, it will only make his market that much more competitive and drive up the price to sign him.
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). On the mound, 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 (23 starts).
Angels’ Shohei Ohtani named American League Most Outstanding Player
Ohtani was named the American League Most Outstanding Player in the 2023 Players Choice Awards, adding to his list of accolades this offseason. Ohtani beat out Yandy Díaz (Tampa Bay Rays) and Corey Seager (Texas Rangers) for the honor.