Shohei Ohtani is taking a different approach to free agency this time around.
On Monday, Jon Morosi said on MLB Network that Ohtani “is probably less concerned about geography and more concerned about the quality of the team he is going to.”
Spending six years with the Los Angeles Angels will do that to a guy.
"He (Shohei Ohtani) is probably less concerned about geography and more concerned about the quality of the team he is going to."@jonmorosi shares what the GM meetings revealed about Ohtani's approach to free agency. pic.twitter.com/h1xioxMPos
— MLB Network (@MLBNetwork) November 13, 2023
When Ohtani left the Nippon Ham Fighters in the winter of 2017 to sign with a Major League team, signing with one on the western side of North America was a priority for him so he could be closer to home in Japan.
The Blue Jays were among the teams who made a presentation to Ohtani that year but they didn’t make the cut as one of the seven finalists, which featured the Angels, Dodgers, Padres, Mariners, Giants, Rangers, and Cubs and not Eastern juggernauts like New York and Boston.
Things will be different this time around for Ohtani, who’s established himself as the best player in baseball but unfortunately hasn’t been able to reach the post-season. Ohtani was worth 34.7 wins above replacement between the 2018 and 2023 seasons but the best record that the Angels put up during his six seasons with the club was 80-82, his first in the big leagues.
That being said, Ohtani can remain on the West Coast while also fulfilling his goal of playing for a contending team. The L.A. Dodgers are the odds-on-favourites to sign Ohtani, which all makes sense considering they have the money to pay him what he wants and they’ve made the post-season 11 years in a row.
The Blue Jays are said to be among the teams interested in making a run at Ohtani, but it seems like an uphill battle given how attractive of an option the Dodgers are. The same group of teams from Ohtani’s first time on the free-agent market are expected to be in the mix as well. Texas is an interesting team to watch given they were one of Ohtani’s original seven finalists and they just won the World Series, so they’re a more attractive option this time around.
ARTICLE PRESENTED BY BETANO