Shohei Ohtani Rumors: Preference To Sign With West Coast Team In Free Agency
MLB: All Star-American League at National League
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

As the Los Angeles Angels look to bounce back and return to the postseason, one storyline that will follow them for the entire 2023 season is Shohei Ohtani’s upcoming free agency.

The two-way star has transformed the organization since making the jump from Japan in 2017, winning the American League MVP Award four years later and placing second this past season.

Ohtani figures to have a slew of suitors if he reaches the open market and could command a contract with a total value north of $500 million.

According to Bob Nightengale of USA Today, Ohtani prefers to remain on the West Coast due to his private lifestyle:

Those close to Shohei Ohtani predict he’ll stay out West when he becomes a free agent simply because of his lifestyle. He rarely ventures out, his friends say, and thoroughly enjoys his privacy.

When Ohtani was in the process of choosing his MLB team in 2017, he narrowed the field to seven clubs, with the Chicago Cubs being the only one not in the AL West or National League West:

When he was a free agent coming out of Japan in 2017, he narrowed his choices to seven teams: The Angels, Padres, Dodgers, Mariners, Giants, Rangers and Cubs. The Cubs were the lone finalist not in the NL West or AL West.

That Ohtani reportedly prefers to stay on the West Coast bodes well for the Angels, who will do everything in their power to convince the 28-year-old to re-sign with the organization.

However, that won’t be easy as the Los Angeles Dodgers are expected to make a strong push to sign him. Ohtani made it clear that his top priority is winning a World Series, and the Angels have not advanced to the playoffs in the five seasons he has been with the team.

Angels plan to pitch Shohei Ohtani ‘as much as possible’

Ohtani made a career-high 28 starts for the Angels last season, and that total figures to increase this year. “I think it probably depends if there’s another acquisition, if there’s another guy that emerges in that 6 spot,” manager Phil Nevin said earlier this offseason.

“Are we going to go with a five-man rotation? My answer is no,” Nevin said. “But I think Shohei will pitch on that day as much as possible.”

Make sure to follow Angels Nation on Twitter for all the latest news and updates surrounding the Halos!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *