After years of speculation and predictions, Shohei Ohtani has finally found his new home in MLB free agency. The two-way phenom has reportedly agreed to sign with the Los Angeles Dodgers, as reported by Jeff Passan. The deal is worth $700 million across 10 years, and there are no opt-outs.
Ohtani has already established himself as one of the greatest players to ever step on a baseball field. He's accomplished things over the years that have never been seen before in the sport. Although Ohtani won't pitch in 2024 due to injury, his offensive prowess will be more than enough to excite fans for the 2024 season.
Shohei Ohtani is hoping to reach the playoffs for the first time in his career with the Dodgers as well. His agent released this statement after the announcement:
Shohei Ohtani agent Nez Balelo’s statement pic.twitter.com/GauXEpXjQM
— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) December 9, 2023
Shohei Ohtani's career with Angels
Fans had heard about Ohtani's two-way prowess, but many were skeptical. After all, simply hitting or pitching in the big leagues is difficult enough. But doing both at a high level? Well, that was practically unheard of.
And then Ohtani arrived in the United States and made his MLB debut in 2018 with the Los Angeles Angels.
Ohtani performed well in 2018 and caught the attention of the MLB world. He recorded a 3.31 ERA across 10 starts on the mound and posted a .925 OPS with 22 home runs and 10 stolen bases on offense.
What Ohtani was doing was incredible, but an arm injury would keep him off the mound during the 2019 campaign. He then made two starts in 2020.
Following the 2020 season, fans were not sure what to think about Ohtani. Yes, his ability to hit and pitch was unbelievable. But people around the MLB world wondered if Ohtani would emerge as a true superstar.
Ohtani wins two MVPs in three years
Sure enough, Shohei Ohtani won his first MVP award in 2021.
Ohtani finished the 2021 season with a 3.18 ERA and 156 strikeouts. He slashed .257/.372/.592 with a .965 OPS at the plate. Ohtani added 46 home runs, 100 RBIs, 26 stolen bases, and a league-leading eight triples on offense.
Ohtani continued to dominate in all facets of the game but narrowly missed out on winning his second MVP award in 2022 because Aaron Judge enjoyed a historic season. Still, Ohtani was clearly the best player in baseball.
In 2023, Ohtani enjoyed another terrific season. He missed the final month of the year due to an injury but still accomplished enough overall to earn the MVP.
Shohei Ohtani was the obvious favorite, leading the league in home runs (44), OBP (.412), slugging (.654), OPS (1.066) and OPS-plus (184). He added a .304 batting average, 95 RBIs, and 20 stolen bases.
Ohtani finished the season on the mound with a 3.14 ERA, 1.061 WHIP and 167 strikeouts.
Again, he did suffer an elbow injury that will keep him from pitching in 2024. Ohtani does hope to pitch again in 2025 though. For now, he will focus on hitting in the middle of the Dodgers' lineup in 2024.
Ohtani ready to lead Dodgers
Shohei Ohtani is ready to join Mookie Betts and help lead his new ballclub to the playoffs. The goal is to win a World Series, of course, but fans just want to see Ohtani play meaningful baseball down the stretch at the very least.
Ohtani will always be remembered as a superstar in Anaheim. The Angels simply could not build a competitive enough team around Ohtani and Mike Trout to find success.
Shohei Ohtani's new chapter will bring no shortage of excitement. He's already accomplished plenty of impressive feats in MLB, but winning the World Series is certainly the next step for Ohtani to cement his historic legacy.