There’s Already A Favorite For Shohei Ohtani In Free Agency

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Shohei Ohtani is in the midst of another historic season; the odds on favorite to win his second American League MVP award.

But thanks to injuries to Mike Trout and Anthony Rendon and the usual disappointing performance, the Los Angeles Angels are, once again, nowhere near a playoff spot.

Entering the All-Star break, the Angels are just 1-9 in their past 10 games, losers of five in a row.

And Shohei Ohtani may be getting sick of it.

During the break, Ohtani told reporters that it “sucks to lose,” and that his desire to win has only increased the past few years.

And he’s not winning in Anaheim.

Despite there being three and a half months to get through before the start of free agency, it seems like Ohtani’s priorities are already clear. He wants to win.

The Los Angeles Times reported that there’s a strong sense around baseball that there’s a clear favorite in the race to sign Shohei. And it’s a franchise with a recent history of winning a whole lot of baseball games.

Shohei Ohtani
ANAHEIM, CA – APRIL 07: Los Angeles Angels designated hitter Shohei Ohtani (17) stands at the plate during an MLB baseball game against the Toronto Blue Jays played on April 7, 2023 at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA. (Photo by John Cordes/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Ohtani May Be Staying Close To Home

There are no sure things in the world of free agency, but it might not be too early for Dodgers fans to get excited.

The Times referenced several sources, who universally agreed that the Dodgers are the clear frontrunners to sign Ohtani.

“One rival team executive, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because tampering rules forbid him from discussing prospective free agents on other teams, was willing to bet a sushi dinner on the Dodgers. Three other executives echoed that it’s the Dodgers and then everyone else. Multiple agents, granted anonymity to speak freely, agreed,” according to Jorge Castillo.

One current member of the Dodgers roster concurred, saying, “I know we’ll make a huge offer.”

The Dodgers could offer Ohtani one of baseball’s best winning percentages over the past decade. They won the World Series in 2020, already have Mookie Betts and Freddie Freeman locked up, and have won 9 of the last 10 NL West titles.

Their one loss came in a 106-win season where the miraculous Giants won 107 games.

Meanwhile the Angels have yet to win more than 80 games during Ohtani’s tenure.

Dodgers Set Up To Make A Huge Offer

The Dodgers also purposefully organized their roster to make a run at Ohtani.

Incredibly, they have just six players with guaranteed contracts for 2024. Even accounting for several club options, there’ll be a huge amount of available payroll to throw towards Shohei.

And for a player who wants to win, and reportedly prefers the west coast, it might be too tempting to pass up.

The Dodgers would allow Ohtani to stay in Southern California, increase his off-field marketing potential, and compete for a championship year in and year out.

They’ve reportedly tried multiple times to sign him, missing out to the Angels mostly because the NL lacked a designated hitter.


Given injuries to starters like Dustin May and Walker Buehler and Julio Urias’ pending free agency, there’s a big hole in the Dodgers rotation. Designated hitter J.D. Martinez is also a free agent after the season.

There’s a positional fit, the available financial might, a culture and history of winning, and the benefit of location and familiarity.

Don’t be too surprised if you start seeing custom Dodgers “Ohtani” jerseys popping up around Los Angeles sooner rather than later.

Written by Ian Miller

Ian Miller is a former award watching high school actor, author, and long suffering Dodgers fan. He spends most of his time golfing, traveling, reading about World War I history, and trying to get the remote back from his dog. Follow him on Twitter @ianmSC

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  1. The smart choice for all parties involved is Braves spend all the savings from their team-friendly deals to sign Ohtani to something like 10 years – $500 Mil. They would be the prohibitive favorites to win the World Series every year for at least the next five years if not longer (and they could easily afford it).

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