In case you’ve been living under a rock (or perhaps one of MLB’s new supersized bases), Shohei Ohtani is a free agent.
Far and away the best player available this winter, the longtime Los Angeles Angels two-way star is expected to command more than half a billion dollars. And that’s despite undergoing a second UCL surgery and being unavailable to pitch for the 2024 season.
Who is going to land this once-in-a generation talent? Here’s everything we know — from just how great Ohtani is and how much he could make, to his top suitors and, of course, all the latest news and buzz.
We’re stuffing all that below — so keep checking back for the latest, up until and after Ohtani chooses his next big league destination.
Key link: Our complete free agency tracker
Is a position change in Ohtani’s future?
Shohei Ohtani will serve as a designated hitter in 2024 and will look to pitch, and thus return to his role as a two-way player, in 2025.
But could the outfield be in his future?
Executives from the general managers’ meetings in Scottsdale, Arizona, have brought up the possibility of Ohtani transitioning to a corner-outfield spot or perhaps first base eventually in his career. It could at least be a fallback option if at some point he is no longer able to pitch – and it’s yet another indication of the value teams place on Ohtani’s talent even as he is recovering from his second elbow procedure.
Former Angels manager Joe Maddon had Ohtani take some outfield reps during the COVID-19-shortened season in 2020 mostly as a way to keep his body active while he recovered from surgeries and often said he looked natural out there. Ohtani also made 64 appearances as an outfielder during his time in Japan. — Alden Gonzalez
GMs mum on Ohtani … for now
Jerry Dipoto’s loquaciousness has made him a favorite with reporters at gatherings like the general managers’ meeting, taking place this week in Scottsdale, Arizona.
On the topic of Shohei Ohtani, though, the Seattle Mariners‘ president of baseball operations was noticeably concise.
“He’s awesome,” Dipoto said, simply, when asked about Ohtani on Tuesday afternoon.
Asked later how his team will approach a potential pursuit, Dipoto said, “I won’t go there.”
Dipoto was hardly alone. Ohtani is the guy everyone wanted to ask about but no executive was willing to talk about publicly, partly because of mandates from both the league and the players’ union not to make public comments that could hinder a player’s market, and partly, perhaps, because of Ohtani’s desire for this to play out as privately as possible. — Alden Gonzalez
The 10 teams in hot pursuit of Ohtani
It’s still early in the process, but most of the executives and agents who talked about the subject privately seem to agree on the 10 teams that will probably be the most aggressive in pursuing Shohei Ohtani — the New York Mets, New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, Chicago Cubs, Los Angeles Angels, Los Angeles Dodgers, San Francisco Giants, Texas Rangers, Toronto Blue Jays and Seattle Mariners. But the degree of interest will undoubtedly vary greatly among them, and other surprise teams are expected to jump into the mix.
At this point, few seem to have much of an idea what Ohtani himself will prioritize. One of the few who might know is Angels GM Perry Minasian, who helped launch Ohtani as a legitimate two-way force three years ago.
He wasn’t willing to tip his hand.
“I know there’s going to be a lot of attention on it, and I understand why,” Minasian said. “Great player. We’ll see how the offseason develops. We’ve got our plan, and we’re going to try to execute that plan and see where everything goes.” — Alden Gonzalez
Dodgers, Rangers a fit for Ohtani
Which teams do our experts think match up best with Ohtani? There are strong arguments to be made for the National League West champion Dodgers and the World Series champion Rangers.