Shohei Ohtani officially declined the qualifying offer from the Los Angeles Angels ahead of the Tuesday 1 p.m. PT deadline set by Major League baseball.
The one-year deal was worth $20.325 million, and if accepted, would net draft-pick compensation for the Angels. Considering the two-way star is destined to sign a much larger contract, declining the offer was a hasty decision.
The presumed front-runner for his second career American League Most Valuable Player Award, Ohtani is set to cash in on a record-breaking contract that has projections going north of $500 million. Following six years with the Angels, Ohtani is now available to sign a deal for what he’s worth, rather than the original terms he agreed upon when first joining MLB.
In the prime of his career, the 29-year-old posted a .304/.412/.654 slash with 26 doubles, eight triples, 44 home runs, 20 stolen bases and 95 RBI put him in rarefied air. While on the mound, he went 10-5 with a 3.14 ERA over 132 innings pitched.
Ohtani isn’t able to pitch next season, after undergoing his second elbow surgery shortly after the conclusion of the regular season. Teams go into a deal with him understanding that reality, banking on him regaining form and being the most talented player the sport has ever seen.
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Having leaned on his stardom, both on and off the field, the Angels saw his rise from intriguing piece, to a presumed two-time MVP candidate.
Still having Mike Trout, the Angels have a chance to be competitive, but some major things have to change within the organization for long term stability. Ohtani is that pillar, but his price tag that projects to be north of $450 million would put them in a tough spot with a roster and farm system in need of some help.
With a number of teams that could use a franchise-alter player, the Angels and Dodgers aren’t the only ones who will be in the hunt.
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