Shohei Ohtani Rumors: Market unaffected by injury, FA sleeper, Padres out?

Shohei Ohtani, Los Angeles Angels
Shohei Ohtani, Los Angeles Angels / Ronald Martinez/GettyImages
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Shohei Ohtani Rumors: Elbow injury 'won't impact' star's free agency

It was a sad day in baseball when the Angels announced Shohei Ohtani tore his UCL and would be shut down for the rest of the season. It's his second major elbow injury in the last six years, having already gotten Tommy John surgery in 2018 for UCL damage.

As is the case for any star athlete hitting the market, Ohtani's injury lowers his ceiling and in turn, affects his future contract. The simple law of cause and effect is something every MLB analyst can agree on.

But just how much will Ohtani's financial future change?

ESPN's Jeff Passan said on The Rich Eisen Show that he believes Ohtani's injury won't impact his free agency appeal very much. Passan admits that yes, obviously, Ohtani is going to lose some money compared to where he was sitting before the injury, but by and large, his appeal has not diminished.

In fact, Ohtani's list of suitors may have grown even longer since teams that considered Ohtani out of their price range before may be taking another look at the ever-so-slightly discounted star.

" Part of me wonders if there are going to be teams that get involved in the Ohtani sweepstakes because they feel like they're going to be able to get a good deal."

Jeff Passan, ESPN

The two-way phenom was rumored to make as much as $600 million given his ability to play two positions, but his recent injury dims his star power just a tad.

Passan said Ohtani could still get a projected contract of $500 million in total value, easily eclipsing Aaron Judge’s free agent–record $360 million deal from last offseason. Keep in mind Ohtani could go under the knife for his second Tommy John surgery, and he's still commanding a historic amount of money. Unbelievable.

Rich Eisen and Jeff Passan talked about how Ohtani's situation could parallel that of NBA star Kevin Durant, who blew out his Achilles ahead of free agency but still got his bag from the Brooklyn Nets. In some ways, a basketball player's Achilles could be considered the equivalent of a pitcher's elbow.

So what's next for Ohtani? In the short term, plans for surgery, if only to clarify his free agency outlook. In the long term, he could switch to relief pitching, as Passan suggests, since being a closer tends to put less stress on a player than being a starter.

Only Ohtani knows what his body's capable of, just like only he really knows where he wants to end up. Buckle in for an exciting free agency this winter.