Shohei Ohtani, the sought-after MLB free agent, is set to make a significant impact with a new team after emerging as a unicorn in the market.
Amid rumors of a potential trade at the deadline, Ohtani is now exploring his options, and the latest odds provide insights into which team may secure this offseason's most coveted player.
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Expressing a desire to play for a contender and pursue a World Series win, Ohtani, who declined the Los Angeles Angels' qualifying offer, is evaluating potential suitors.
Ohtani Next Team Odds
|Ohtani Next Team
The Los Angeles Dodgers are currently the frontrunners, but teams like the Toronto Blue Jays, Chicago Cubs, and others are also actively in contention.
At 29 years old, Ohtani enters free agency with the potential to command a substantial, long-term contract.
Despite the Angels' challenges, his remarkable performance has garnered accolades, including AL Rookie of the Year in 2018 and two AL MVP awards.
Ohtani boasts an impressive .274/.366/.556 batting line with 171 home runs and 437 RBI, coupled with a pitching record of 38-19, a 3.01 ERA, and 608 strikeouts in 86 starts.
While Ohtani underwent elbow surgery, necessitating a hiatus from pitching in 2024, his resilience has been evident, even during previous recovery periods.
Despite concern about his return post-surgery, there are rumors of a lucrative 12-year, $528-million contract, reflecting Ohtani's unmatched potential and the anticipation of a competitive bidding war among interested teams.
https://t.co/4wrdMTrGIQ. Ohtani and Yamamoto sweepstakes look like they will go past these Winter Meetings, which may delay many other big moves as well (still no movement in Padres-Yankees talks and more in here)
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) December 4, 2023
Los Angeles Dodgers
The Los Angeles Dodgers have emerged as the frontrunners with odds at -175, signaling a strong likelihood of securing Shohei Ohtani.
Picture Ohtani's formidable bat alongside Mookie Betts and Freddie Freeman, forming a powerhouse trio for the foreseeable future.
The Dodgers strategically refrained from extending a qualifying offer to J.D. Martinez, emphasizing their targeted pursuit of Ohtani.
While the Dodgers face a notable gap in their rotation, the addition of Ohtani holds the potential to fortify this aspect of the roster.
In 2024, envisioning Ohtani in the lineup positions the Dodgers as the most formidable offensive force in the league, surpassing even the potency of Atlanta's lineup.
Financially robust, the Dodgers have a track record of significant investments, exemplified by lucrative deals for Betts and Freeman.
Their discerning approach, allowing players like Trea Turner and Corey Seager to explore free agency, underscores a commitment to strategic decision-making.
While avoiding impulsive moves, signing Ohtani aligns with the Dodgers' penchant for calculated and impactful acquisitions.
Known for their proficiency in nurturing talent from within, the Dodgers are likely to continue cultivating internal growth.
This approach and a potential commitment to Ohtani, Betts, and Freeman positions the Dodgers to maintain a competitive and well-rounded roster.
Just a few weeks ago, the Cubs were listed at +2,100 odds to sign Ohtani, but this line swiftly disappeared as Chicago emerged as a serious contender for the star.
The Cubs recently hired Craig Counsell as their new manager, committing $8 million annually to his role. This managerial investment suggests a willingness to allocate funds to bolster on-field talent.
With notable free agents like Cody Bellinger and Marcus Stroman, the Cubs find themselves in a position to address gaps in their roster.
Where will Shohei Ohtani sign? The Athletic surveyed 16 MLB agents.
Dodgers: 8 votes
Cubs: 3 votes
Giants: 2 votes
Blue Jays: 1 vote
Rangers: 1 vote
Somewhere on the West Coast: 1 vote
— The Athletic (@TheAthletic) December 4, 2023
The team also boasts a mix of promising young talent, with some players already contributing at the major-league level (such as Pete Crow-Armstrong, Justin Steele, Nico Hoerner) and others on the cusp of breaking through (including Kevin Alcantara and Owen Caissie).
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According to MLB Network's Jon Morosi on Monday, the Atlanta Braves, who claimed the title of baseball's best regular-season team in 2023, remain active suitors for Ohtani.
The Braves boast considerable pitching depth, making them potentially well-positioned to weather a year-long wait for Ohtani.
Their pitching needs are less urgent compared to teams like the Dodgers.
Adding Ohtani's bat to a lineup already featuring Ronald Acuna Jr., Austin Riley, Matt Olson, and others could elevate an already formidable offense to near-unstoppable levels.
However, as Ohtani is anticipated to announce his decision around or shortly after the Winter Meetings, which commenced on December 3, market responses are likely imminent.
Toronto Blue Jays
The Toronto Blue Jays have surprisingly emerged as strong contenders to sign Ohtani in recent weeks, generating heightened speculation around the team.
This surge in buzz aligns with the Blue Jays' active pursuit of impactful moves, including potential interest in acquiring outfielder Juan Soto from the San Diego Padres via trade.
This strategic approach signals Toronto's clear intent to impact the league substantially. The Blue Jays boast a core recognized as a contender for the World Series.
Their robust rotation positions them well to navigate a season where Ohtani may focus on hitting before assuming the role of a frontline starting pitcher.
I continue to believe that, once Shohei Ohtani makes The Decision, the #BlueJays will point their energy to the trade market.
Atkins says that free agency is stronger for pitching, but:
"...there are opportunities on the position player side, for sure, on the trade market.”
— Keegan Matheson (@KeeganMatheson) December 4, 2023
Additionally, the urgency is palpable, considering the impending free agency of stars Vlad Guerrero Jr. and Bo Bichette after the 2025 season, with no indication of contract extensions in the works.
The looming question for the Blue Jays revolves around how much they are willing to invest in a potential decade-long deal with Ohtani.
Such a commitment would undoubtedly have implications for subsequent extension negotiations with the talented young duo of Guerrero Jr. and Bichette.
Balancing the pursuit of immediate success with long-term planning will be a critical decision for the Blue Jays' front office.
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