Who will be in the running to sign Shohei Ohtani?
MLB free agency is officially underway, and teams will evaluate the players available and who they believe can help their team contend for the World Series in 2024 and beyond. When it comes to the biggest name available, it is undoubtedly Los Angeles Angels two-way star Shohei Ohtani.
The ace pitcher and elite slugger has lived up to the hype of being this generation's Babe Ruth and will look to cash in on the richest contract in baseball history this winter. That's even though he's not expected to pitch in 2024 due to an elbow injury. Now the question is, what exact teams are going to make a push for Ohtani?
The Athletic's Stephen J. Nesbitt, Chad Jennings, and Cody Stavenhagen listed 12 teams that are expected to be in the running for Ohtani, 10 of which were listed by Jim Bowden and two that MLB players predicted as top options. The teams are as follows:
- Boston Red Sox
- Chicago Cubs
- Los Angeles Angels
- Los Angeles Dodgers
- New York Mets
- New York Yankees
- Philadelphia Phillies
- San Diego Padres
- San Francisco Giants
- Seattle Mariners
- Texas Rangers
- Toronto Blue Jays
The list of teams is not particularly surprising. The Los Angeles Dodgers, New York Mets, and San Francisco Giants have long been linked to Ohtani. One team that is a bit surprising is the Philadelphia Phillies, who signed Bryce Harper, Trea Turner, Kyle Schwarber, and Nick Castellanos to big contracts in recent years.
As for the two teams that players predicted as landing spots for Ohtani, they were the New York Yankees and Angels. The Athletic writers detailed that Ohtani would take over the designated hitter role permanently for the Yankees, which would force the team to either move Giancarlo Stanton to the outfield or buy-out his contract. As for the Angels, they would have to rely on Ohtani, Mike Trout, and Anthony Rendon to remain healthy, as their farm system is depleted due to their push for a postseason berth at the trade deadline.
Ohtani will be the huge domino to fall this offseason. Whichever team does sign him to potentially a record-breaking contract, other free agents should sign in quick order. Given the amount of teams that will be interested in Ohtani, it may be deep into the winter before he makes a decision.