The Shohei Ohtani sweepstakes is at the forefront of MLB fans and bettors minds this offseason, with the two-way superstar sitting as arguably the most prized (and most expensive) free agent in baseball history. While all 30 clubs would love to have the soon-to-be two-time AL MVP on their roster for the foreseeable future, only a handful of teams are realistic suitors.
Unfortunately, the most notable factor affecting the negotiation process is his current elbow injury. After tearing his UCL in his right elbow in August, Ohtani won’t be able to pitch next season. That’s a brutal blow to one of the game’s best swing-and-miss artists (94th percentile in K-rate in ’23), raising valid questions about how long the 29-year-old can maintain his elite two-way play.
Regardless of the skepticism about his longevity as a starting pitcher, a man who hit over .300 with 44 home runs and 95 RBIs in just 135 games last year remains one of the game’s best hitters. That alone warrants a historic new deal for a superstar in the prime of his career.
While a return to Anaheim is technically not out of the equation, Ohtani is unlikely to revive his tenure with the Halos. According to DraftKings Sportsbook, eight clubs have better odds than the Angels to land Ohtani, and for good reason.
Below, we’ll break down his next team odds, looking at the odds-on favorites along with a few sleeper teams that could land the coveted free agent.
Shohei Ohtani next team odds
|Field (Any Other Team)||+2000|
It’s not all too surprising to see the Dodgers listed as the betting favorites to land Ohtani, as they not only have the financial resources to strike a deal, but it also won’t be much of an adjustment for Shohei to play his home games at Dodger Stadium.
We know the Dodgers are always in the thick of things to return to the World Series, as L.A. figures to remain a championship competitor for the foreseeable future.
L.A. got a steal by signing J.D. Martinez to a one-year, $10 million contract last year as their DH. Martinez drove in 103 runs while slashing .271/.321/.572. He’d be a phenomenal consolation prize should L.A. fail to land Ohtani, but there’s no denying Ohtani’s a significant upgrade over the 36-year-old Martinez.
That said, when it comes to placing a bet on the Dodgers at +110, there isn’t sufficient value for us to consider putting a wager down at their current price. The market is already pricing LA as the odds-on favorite, but is the race skewed that much in their direction to warrant a +110 price tag? We’re not so sure.
The Cubs have seen a significant shift in their odds to land Ohtani, owning the second-lowest price at +350. Chicago was in the running to land the Japanese superstar in 2017 when he was posted by the Nippon Ham Fighters, but ultimately, his desire to go to the West Coast and play for an American League club (with a DH) led Shohei to sign with the Halos.
His familiarity with the Cubs brass could potentially make the negotiation process easier this time around. Chicago is also showing signs of a team that can compete for consistent postseason berths in the coming seasons, and their willingness to ink manager Craig Counsell to a five-year, $40 million deal indicates they’re trying to put their best foot forward to get back to the playoffs.
It also doesn’t hurt that the Cubs have fellow Nippon League star Seiya Suzuki, an added bonus in their hopes of recruiting Ohtani to the Northside.
That said, given how much Ohtani’s odds have shifted in favor of the Cubs, going from +1500 to +350, bettors may have missed the boat on value. It still feels like the Cubs are in the sleeper-to-long shot range to sign Ohtani, but they’re not priced like that in the market. Therefore, we’d refrain from betting on the Cubs at +350.
San Francisco makes some sense at +650, as Ohtani would be able to stay on the West Coast while being a part of a core that’s not too far from playoff contention. Yes, the current makeup of the Giants isn’t nearly as strong as the Dodgers, likely resulting in San Francisco needing to own a wild-card spot to reach the postseason, but landing a player of Ohtani’s caliber significantly increases the Giants’ playoff chances for the foreseeable future.
It seems as if the Giants are willing to shell out top dollar to land him. However, the sentiment around Ohtani appears to be that he wants to be in the best place to compete for championships. That could hinder the Giants from ultimately landing the unicorn, but a +650 price tag on San Francisco is an intriguing one.
Although the Mets failed to live up to their hype in 2023, winning just 75 games and dealing superstar pitchers Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer at the deadline, Steve Cohen’s deep pockets undoubtedly make the Mets a serious contender in the Ohtani sweepstakes.
If it boils down to a bidding war, we wouldn’t bet against Cohen. However, with the Mets being several pieces away from not only returning to the postseason but also competing in a strong NL East, would Shohei be willing to play through a couple of “rebuilding” seasons? There’s a good chance that the answer is “no.”
Ohtani’s reported aversion to playing on the East Coast might prohibit him from donning the orange and blue, but maybe, just maybe, a record-breaking deal is enough to lure him to the Big Apple.
In terms of positioning himself on a team that can compete for championships, don’t put it past General Manager Chris Young to do everything in his power to bring Shohei to Arlington.
The Rangers have proved they’ll do what it takes to acquire superstar talent to not only boost the team for the immediate future but also open up their window to compete for championships in the coming seasons.
It would definitely take some time to adjust to Ohtani playing for a fellow AL West foe, but if he’s serious about consistently playing on the game’s biggest stage, Texas is the place to be.
Source : ESPN.com