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MLB: Shohei Ohtani in profile

Japanese two-way superstar Shohei Ohtani is set to earn a huge contract as he looms towards free agency following his final season with the Los Angeles Angels.

The 28-year-old will command a huge contract for his next team and it’s not going to be the Angels.

Ohtani is 10/1 to win the American League Cy Young award in 2023 and he will also be a candidate for the batting title as well, with that in mind, he is 2/1 for the AL MVP award.

WhatMLB 2023 Season
WhereVarious venues across the USA and Canada
When30th March - 1st October
OddsLA Dodgers 6/1, HOU Astros 6/1, NY Mets 7/1, NY Yankees 8/1

Is a $500million contract out of the question?

The word amongst most pundits on the baseball beat is that Ohtani could command a 10-year, $500million contract next. He is, after all, one of the best pitchers and hitters in baseball.

Any big-market team could make an offer and there are a few on the list. The Los Angeles Dodgers would be an obvious choice and with the franchise not taking part in the huge contract merry-go-round this offseason, there will be some payroll to be used for the 2024 season and onwards.

You can add the New York Mets, New York Yankees, Chicago Cubs, Philadelphia Phillies and Boston Red Sox to the potential suitors list.

The Angels are unlikely to be in the mix, however, as their owners the Moreno family have decided to take the franchise off the sale market

This will come as an annoyance to the Angels fanbase, as they have often seen their side have losing seasons (not a winning one since 2015) and they have failed to reach the playoffs since 2014, despite since 2018 having had Ohtani and outfielder Mike Trout on the books.

The Angels haven’t appeared in the World Series since 2002, that was the year that they won it, defeating the San Francisco Giants.

The Angels are 50/1 to win the 2023 World Series and it would seem unlikely that the Angels will get to the Fall Classic, sadly for Trout and Ohtani.

Some pundits are predicting that you should pay Ohtani for both skills in baseball and that is why he would command a $500million price tag. He is hugely marketable, not only in the United States, but he is of legendary status to Japanese baseball fans.

Can Ohtani repeat?

It was a special season again for Ohtani last season, however it wasn’t enough for him to claim the top prizes in either field. The two-time All-Star won the American League MVP in 2021 and finished second in the voting behind Aaron Judge in 2022.

He has enough power as a hitter to anchor a line-up with a combined 80 home runs over the past two seasons, but is also a dominant pitcher who would be the ace of any rotation. Ohtani finished the 2022 season with a 2.33 ERA, 1.01 WHIP and 219 strikeouts in 166 innings.

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Would the Angels trade Ohtani?

The answer is yes, if the Angels are out of contention for their Division and even the Wild Card places, then Ohtani would be moved on and the Angels would expect a big return in prospects and starting players.

This would rule the Mets out of the equation at that stage, because by all reports they are looking to keep their current prospects to add to their roster. Mets owner Steve Cohen has deep pockets and will wait until the end of the 2023 season to offer Ohtani the contract he desires.

The Los Angeles Dodgers have been linked with Ohtani for years and they appear to be a frontrunner to obtain services.

The Dodgers would have no problem giving up some of their farm system to gain Ohtani and it would be a big package to gain for the Angels, especially if the Dodgers are once again in contention. Most importantly from Ohtani’s point of view, he wouldn’t have to move house.

Outside offers will come from the San Francisco Giants and Seattle Mariners, but they would need to make unbelievable offers to Ohtani to go there, but they are on the West Coast.

The team that does get Ohtani’s contract will gain heavy media attention throughout the deal, with Japanese TV station NHK having a permanent camera set-up to track Ohtani’s movements.

All of his supporters can watch his games through Major League Baseball’s international arm and the Angels draw plenty of revenue from Ohtani himself, as he has signed endorsements with Japanese brands since his signed for the Angels in 2018. 

Could he be the first MLB player to get a $500million contract? Quite simply, yes, he’s that good.

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