The 2023 season will be Shohei Ohtani's final under team control. He's poised to hit the open market for the first time since signing with the Los Angeles Angels out of Japan. Since signing with the Halos, Ohtani has become the league's best player. He's a superstar at the plate and on the mound. He won the MVP award in 2021 and finished second this past season.
Ohtani is like nobody we've ever seen before. No player in MLB history has hit and pitched at the same time at anything close to the level Ohtani has done. That makes him the most valuable player in baseball history. He's going to be paid like it.
How much will Shohei Ohtani make next offseason?
Assuming Ohtani refuses to sign an extension with the Angels, he's going to hit the open market. Once that happens, all of the big market teams will be calling. Both New York teams, both LA teams, the Padres, Giants, Cubs, Phillies, virtually every team you can imagine actually giving out that contract will call Ohtani.
Where he'd want to play is a different question. When he first came to the U.S. he did not want to play for the Yankees. Has his disdain for New York changed at all? Will Steve Cohen's wallet persuade him even if he doesn't want New York as a first choice? Will the Dodgers get the guy they seem to be loading up for?
These nine agents all believe Ohtani will become the highest-paid player in MLB history. More than Aaron Judge, more than Mike Trout. It'll be nothing like we've ever seen before.
These agents had answers that ranged from $430 million dollars to $550 million. One agent predicted a 13 or 14-year deal worth $500 million dollars - $250 million for each position. I think that makes a lot of sense.
I don't think he's going to get 14 years, but I do think the contract he gets will have a number five at the beginning of it. As Heyman points out in the article, Ohtani gives way more than just on-field production. He sells tickets, jerseys, and sponsorships. He's the biggest draw in the game right now.
We can only hope by the time this does happen, the sale of the Angels franchise is complete and Ohtani and the new ownership group gets along very well. I want nothing more than to see this guy in Cooperstown wearing an Angels cap.
This free agency saga will be like nothing we've ever seen. Just have to hope it goes in our favor.