Shohei Ohtani is a free agent for the first time since making the jump to Major League Baseball from Nippon Professional Baseball.
After six historic seasons as a two-way player with the Los Angeles Angels, Ohtani is expected to receive a contract of at least $500 million this offseason.
While the Angels hope to re-sign their superstar, they will have plenty of competition for his services. The Los Angeles Dodgers, Chicago Cubs and Boston Red Sox are among the teams with significant interest in Ohtani.
According to ESPN’s Jeff Passan, Ohtani will consider signing a short-term contract with a record average annual value, which could open the door for more teams to pursue him:
But people familiar with Ohtani’s thinking believe he might be open to a short-term deal with an exceedingly high average annual value, a circumstance that would open up a host of suitors this offseason.
Ohtani, who will be named the 2023 American League MVP this week, 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).
Ohtani’s 2023 season was cut short after he tore the UCL in his right elbow during a start against the Cincinnati Reds on August 23. He later underwent elbow surgery that is expected to sideline him as a pitcher in 2024.
Ohtani also missed most out September due to an oblique injury but is expected to be full go in Spring Training. The 29-year-old will be a full-time designated hitter next season and should return to the mound in 2025.
Angels extended qualifying offer to Shohei Ohtani
The Angels extended the qualifying offer to Shohei Ohtani, which is a one-year, $20.325 million contract for the 2024 season. He has until Tuesday to accept or reject the qualifying offer, but almost certainly will decline it.
If Ohtani rejects the qualifying offer and goes on to sign with a different team, the Angels will receive draft compensation.