With the impending Major League Baseball Winter Meetings kicking off on Monday in Nashville, Tennessee, the pursuit of Shohei Ohtani in his free agency tour seems to be inching its way along.
Two big pieces to the starting pitching market in Aaron Nola and Sonny Gray are off the board. Nola signing back with the Philadelphia Phillies and Gray joining the St. Louis Cardinals, which leaves Blake Snell, Yoshinobu Yamamoto, Shōta Imanaga on the top slab of starters left on the market.
The Los Angeles Angels remain in the hunt for upgrades to their roster, which has a lot riding on where Ohtani decides to sign long term. Owner Arte Moreno has indicated his desire to keep the two-way star, as he’s had a deep affinity for star players during his tenure.
But the fit for a mega contract of the magnitude Ohtani will command isn’t in the cards for every franchise. While the Angels are still mentioned as one franchise in the running for his services, per Jeff Passan of ESPN:
“The Texas Rangers, Boston Red Sox and New York Mets, who were among the initial group of suitors, have turned their attention to other players, sources said. Among those confirmed by sources to be still in the bidding: the Los Angeles Dodgers, Chicago Cubs, Toronto Blue Jays and Angels. The San Francisco Giants have long had a fondness for Ohtani, though where they stand in these sweepstakes is unknown.”
Recently named the 2023 American League Most Valuable Player, Ohtani also made history as being the only two-time unanimous winner. He joined Albert Pujols and Miguel Cabrera as the only foreign-born players with multiple MVP Awards, recently earning all 30 first place votes from the Baseball Writers’ Association of America.
A contract projection for Ohtani is unique, both in a sense of total value, and the possible list of incentives that could be attached to his standing as a two-way player.
In addition to Shohei Ohtani, Perry Minasian reaffirms drive to make Angels better
Following the hire of Ron Washington to be the team’s next manager, the Angels have serious holes on their roster, aside from the gaping one Ohtani could leave if he signs elsewhere.
One caveat, is that Washington brings both enthusiasm and experience to the Angels, which currently lacks a lot of because of the youth on their roster.
General manager Perry Minasian insisted they intend to be competitive, and will keep their focus on building a complete team.
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