With the MLB offseason officially underway, all eyes of the baseball world are on Shohei Ohtani. The soon-to-be two-time MVP is the biggest free agent the MLB has ever seen and his decision, one that will presumably land him with a new team for at least the next decade, will be all anyone can talk about before and after it happens.

There are plenty of factors that make Ohtani's free agency case unique. One of them is the fact that almost everyone in baseball believes he is going to sign with the Los Angeles Dodgers. If the Carlos Correa saga from last offseason taught us anything though, it's that nothing is guaranteed until pen is put to paper.

While the Dodgers do their due diligence in their approach of Ohtani, they may find some bumps in the road leading to his signature, one of which is his future as a pitcher. Ohtani will not pitch in 2024 after recently undergoing elbow surgery and there's no definitive answer as to what he will look like on the mound when he comes back in 2025.

Ohtani losing a season of pitching will not prevent teams from pursuing him, but it may make some rethink their contract strategies. As Jeff Passan reports, the Dodgers have typically signed big-ticket free agents on their own terms, something that might not be possible with Ohtani. Despite everything he brings to the table, are the Dodgers ok with giving Ohtani half a billion dollars if the only certainty beyond 2024 is that he can be their designated hitter?

What Ohtani wants, he gets

Shohei Ohtani, Angels

Although Shohei Ohtani is an outspoken fan of the Dodgers organization, the glitz and glam of Los Angeles may not be what he wants for the second half of his MLB career. No matter how much money the Dodgers – or any team for that matter – throw at him, he can probably get a bigger offer from somewhere else, meaning he controls the landscape of his free agency.

Teams will not be afraid to break the bank for Ohtani, even non-contenders and franchises that have traditionally shied away from spending big in free agency. Ohtani is a once-in-a-lifetime sort of player, one that will make teams break their molds just to get a seat at the table with him, as Passan alludes to.

Knowing that, Ohtani can essentially go wherever he wants and can more than likely get the exact contract he desires. That could turn away contending teams, including the Dodgers, who don’t necessarily need Ohtani to compete for a championship.

If Ohtani wants to go to the highest bidder, the Dodgers would definitely be in the running, but will the New York Mets and owner Steve Cohen allow themselves to be outbid? Though the Dodgers perhaps give Ohtani the best chance to win titles in the short and long term, they're not the only franchise built for sustained success. The Texas Rangers and Atlanta Braves can give Ohtani the same sort of opportunity to win multiple championships, something he will almost certainly take into consideration.

Shohei Ohtani's future will come down to what he wants rather than what teams are willing to give him. Until an introductory press conference commences, the what-ifs will be fun to ponder.