Shohei Ohtani is perhaps the biggest free agent in recent MLB history. After all, he is a two-time American League MVP, an ace pitcher, and one of the top sluggers in the game. A player of his caliber rarely gets to enter free agency, and teams are getting the opportunity to sign him.
Ohtani is scheduled to make his decision within the next week, but reports of free agency meetings with interested teams have been minimal. The only breakthrough was The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal's report of there being a belief that he visited the Toronto Blue Jays' spring training facility on Monday. But there has also been another tidbit that circulated on Monday that could be considered a doomsday scenario for fans of teams.
ESPN's Buster Olney notes that a player agent believes that Ohtani will return to the Los Angeles Angels. The agent, per Olney, not only says that money will be a factor but also because Ohtani "is devoted to routine, and no organization would offer him more autonomy than the Angels."
Player agent reportedly believes Shohei Ohtani returns to Angels
That would certainly be a gut punch for fans of teams not named the Angels making a push to sign the two-way superstar. But the Angels would allow him, as the player agent mentions, to stick with his routine.
The Angels tried their best this past season to make a push for the postseason for the first time since 2014. At the trade deadline, they acquired Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez, Randal Grichuk, and more. But, the team went on a seven-game losing streak and fell far outside of the playoff picture, leading to them waiving Giolito, Lopez, Grichuk, Matt Moore, Dominic Leone, and Hunter Renfroe.
This offseason, the Angels hired a winning manager in Ron Washington, showing their intentions of competing in 2024. After all, they do have Mike Trout and Anthony Rendon on the roster. Keeping Ohtani would certainly help with that.
USA Today's Bob Nightengale revealed in a tweet on Tuesday thatthe Angels are among four likely finalists for Ohtani, alongside the Blue Jays, Los Angeles Dodgers, and San Francisco Giants.
Angels fans would certainly love for Ohtani to re-sign with the team long-term. But fans of other teams would, understandably, hate that outcome.