The Los Angeles Angels unfortunately face the reality that Shohei Ohtani is set to hit the open market now that the World Series has concluded.
They’ll be in contention to sign the two-way star, but also have a good deal of arbitration eligible players, in addition to making decisions on players with option for next season. Both Aaron Loup and Eduardo Escobar are expected to have their team options declined, also allowing them to hit the free agent market.
However, the biggest fork in the road is where, and how much Ohtani will command with his next contract. Teams have to operate with the understanding that he’ll be limited to only hitting in 2024, a timeline teams are more than okay with.
Ohtani has the luxury to weigh his options, but with a deal of such magnitude, organizations could act sooner than later in order to get it done, per Sarah Valenzuela of the L.A. Times:
The Dodgers, who have been trying to sign Ohtani since he was in high school, are expected to be among the top contenders for his services. While Ohtani is expected to draw interest and hear offers from many teams, some specific ones that have been mentioned in speculation include the Boston Red Sox, New York Mets, San Francisco Giants, Seattle Mariners and Texas Rangers — who in 2017 shared a statement, written by former Rangers GM Jon Daniels, on the club’s disappointment when Ohtani picked the Angels and not Texas.
Jon Daniels has been the Texas Rangers general manager since 2005, and with their latest World Series title, the organization is as high up as ever. Their turnaround from a 100-loss team just a few seasons ago to where they are now is a credit to their staff and the talent they’ve developed, traded for, and acquired in free agency.
That combination means a lot to what Ohtani covets in his next stop, but winning does to. The phenom has proven on the highest stage in international play, during the 2023 World Baseball Classic, that he can rise to the occasion when necessary.
The Dodgers’ pursuit of Ohtani is both a strategic move from a front office perspective because of his unique, otherworldly talent, but also from a franchise-leader standpoint. He embodies the definition of an organizational pillar.
Joe Maddon provides insight into Shohei Ohtani and his future
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.
Former Angels manager Joe Maddon recently discussed what Ohtani might prioritize when he chooses his next destination.
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