Shohei Ohtani won't pitch in 2024 due to an injury. This may decrease the amount of money he will get paid in free agency, but make no mistake about it… Ohtani is going to still receive a jaw-dropping amount of money in his next contract. Every team in MLB would love to sign the two-way phenom this offseason. Shohei is still going to hit bombs in 2024 and expects to return to the mound in 2025 as well.
So which team will ultimately win the Ohtani sweepstakes? Will the Los Angeles Angels shock the MLB world and re-sign Ohtani? Can the New York ball clubs enter the mix? Will there be a surprise team involved?
Today, we will be taking a look at the five best Shohei Ohtani free agency destinations. Each one of these destinations benefits Ohtani in a pivotal manner, whether it be giving him a chance to finally win or an opportunity to lead a young team with potential. Without further ado, let's get right into it.
Shohei Ohtani to the Dodgers…
The Dodgers have been linked to Ohtani since last offseason. Just because a team is the favorite doesn't necessarily mean they profile as a great fit, but in this case the Dodgers do indeed make a lot of sense.
First of all, Ohtani wouldn't need to move far after spending the first portion of his career with the Los Angeles Angels in Anaheim. Rumors have stated that Ohtani also prefers to stay on the west coast.
And then there is the fact that the Dodgers know how to win. Sure, they have endured playoff struggles. But Los Angeles is always in the mix and signing with LA would give Ohtani the chance to reach the playoffs for the first time in his career.
The Dodgers are expected to pursue Ohtani this offseason. However, they will have competition.
The Seattle Mariners are an X-Factor of sorts in the Ohtani sweepstakes. Seattle isn't going to be a top landing destination according to most predictions, but they are a young and exciting team with a bright future.
Ohtani could follow in another Japanese legend's footsteps, Ichiro Suzuki, by joining the Mariners. Ichiro was beloved by the Seattle fanbase despite the Mariners' struggles during his time with the team.
Ohtani, however, would be signing with a Mariners ball club that is much more likely to contend. Seattle snapped their playoff drought in 2022 and narrowly missed the postseason in 2023. Shohei would join emerging star Julio Rodriguez and immediately make the Mariners a title contender.
The Giants make a lot of sense!
Signing with the Dodgers' rival might be a realistic option for Shohei Ohtani. The San Francisco Giants are one of those teams that are difficult to predict.
Some years, the Giants will randomly make a playoff run (2021), and others they will finish near the bottom of the NL West. One thing we know about the Giants is they have displayed aggression in free agency in previous seasons.
San Francisco was connected to Aaron Judge before the slugger returned to New York in free agency. The Giants even agreed to a deal with Carlos Correa before backing out due to questions with the shortstop's health/injury history.
Ohtani would get to stay on the west coast with the Giants. San Francisco is developing a contending ball club and they could build a winning roster around Shohei.
In similar fashion to the Mariners, the Giants probably won't receive a lot of attention in the Ohtani sweepstakes. However, fans can expect them to be heavily involved.
How about the defending champs?
Would Shohei Ohtani be open to a move to Texas?
Signing with the Texas Rangers, the 2023 World Series champions, would be a great move for Ohtani. Texas is obviously talented and they have been willing to dish out large contracts over the past few seasons. Adding a DH like Ohtani who can impact the pitching staff at some point down the road makes a lot of sense.
For Ohtani, he would immediately receive a chance to win with the Rangers. He'd likely be interested in joining forces with Corey Seager, Marcus Semien, and Adolis Garcia. The thought of pitching alongside Jacob deGrom will also catch his interest.
The Rangers are going to stay aggressive in free agency. Texas doesn't want to be a one-hit wonder. Instead, they have a chance to develop a potential dynasty. And speaking of dynasties, our next team on this list is on the verge of creating one.
Shohei Ohtani could help the Orioles create a dynasty
That means Baltimore can compete right now and should continue to be good for the foreseeable future. Their pitching does need some added depth, and Shohei Ohtani can provide that in 2025.
Signing Ohtani for the 2024 campaign would give Baltimore a superstar DH who could anchor the lineup. Placing a ton of young stars around Ohtani would instantly create a very intimidating offense.
Keep an eye on the Orioles in the Shohei Ohtani MLB free agency sweepstakes.