If 2023 is dubbed the “Year of Ohtani,” it’s because he’s about to hit free agency.

This means that the biggest question in 2023 will be which team Shohei Ohtani signs with in free agency.

If the Angels are serious about making the playoffs this year, they won’t trade Ohtani, but if they fall out of the race in June and July, they’ll likely make a decision before the trade deadline in late July. This is because it’s much more beneficial to acquire multiple prospects in a trade than it is to lose them for a single draft pick in free agency. This is a long-standing tradition for major league teams when it comes to players entering free agency.

However, trade or no trade, Ohtani is certain to sign a record-breaking contract when he hits free agency later this year. A total of $500 million is the standard, with $600 million being mentioned.

ESPN published an article titled “Top Major League Baseball officials eyeing Shohei Ohtani deal” on Aug. 28 (ET), looking at the likely destinations for Ohtani. The Los Angeles Dodgers were named as the favorite.

Ohtani reportedly didn’t even consider the National League, which doesn’t use a designated hitter, when he went through the posting process in December 2017. Associated Press]
‘Sources say there’s been a lot of talk about Ohtani among Dodgers players and staff,’ the article’s author, Buster Olney, wrote, ‘noting in particular that the Dodgers shunned big names in free agency last winter, instead signing J.D. Martinez, Jason Heyward and Clayton Kershaw to one-year deals, reducing their payroll by 15 percent. This theoretically supports the Dodgers’ strategy of significantly increasing the payroll after next year.

There were nine $100 million-plus contracts in Major League Baseball free agency last offseason, none of which were signed by the Dodgers. Instead, they re-signed Kershaw to a one-year, $20 million deal, added Martinez to a one-year, $10 million deal, and acquired Jason Heyward from the Chicago Cubs on the cheap.

Since then, there has been a constant “Ohtani could be here” chatter in the Dodgers’ organization and front office.

“I think he’s going to go to the Dodgers, it just makes so much sense for the Dodgers,” a senior club official told Olney, adding that “the market goes after star players, and he’s the best star in the majors,” and acknowledging that Ohtani’s move to the Dodgers was a foregone conclusion.

“If Ohtani were to sign with the Dodgers, he would lead a lineup with Mookie Betts, Freddie Freeman, Will Smith and James Outman, and could be the No. 1 starter after Kershaw retires,” Olney wrote.

If the Dodgers sign Ohtani, he could be the No. 1 starter to succeed Clayton Kershaw. AP
The Dodgers were among the seven finalists for Ohtani’s services in December 2017, when he was posted, but failed to land him. At the time, Ohtani reportedly preferred the American League West, which uses designated hitters. “It’s obvious in hindsight that he wanted a team where he could play designated hitter on days he wasn’t pitching,” a club official who remembers the situation told Olney.

But things are much different now. The National League has adopted the designated hitter. Moreover, the Dodgers are a team that fits Ohtani’s desire to win a championship.

However, the Dodgers have never commented on their interest in Ohtani. “The Dodgers are the biggest spenders in the majors, but president Andrew Friedman hasn’t been a spendthrift,” Olney said. “Even when they brought in Friedman, it was after Atlanta walked away, and he had a lot of deferred salary. The same goes for Betts.먹튀검증

The Dodgers signed Freeman, a free agent first baseman, to a six-year, $162 million deal in March 2022. They also set aside a significant portion of the total for future payments. They had previously signed Betts to a 12-year, $365 million extension.

“If the Dodgers are going to sign Ohtani, they’re going to have to go well beyond the bounds of common sense and outbid teams that invested heavily last winter,” Olney said. That means the competition for Ohtani will be tough.

Olney cited the San Diego Padres, New York Mets, and New York Yankees as possible suitors after the Dodgers.

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