The Los Angeles Angels are one of many teams that hope to be the ones to convince Shohei Ohtani to sign the record-breaking deal he's going to sign. While the Angels don't have the best odds to re-sign Shohei, they'll be in until he says they're out.
Most experts predict Ohtani will sign his mega-deal with the team across town, the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Dodgers make sense as a team out west in the location he likes with a roster ready to win. The Dodgers make the playoffs seemingly every year and have every reason to believe Shohei can be the one to push them over the top.
If it's not the Dodgers, teams like the Giants, Cubs, and Rangers make sense as teams that can give Ohtani a lot of money and a chance to win in a market he's comfortable in. There are teams many expect to be in on Shohei until the end, but Ohtani and agent Nez Balelo have been very tight-lipped about the whole situation. They're leaving everyone guessing.
Ohtani could wind up turning the favorites away and instead signing with a team nobody expected. Kind of like he did when he signed with the Angels originally, as they weren't seen as the favorites from the start. Jon Morosi and Mark Feinsand of MLB.com listed three dark horses they can see stealing Ohtani away from the Angels this offseason.
Red Sox, Blue Jays, Braves listed as dark horses in Shohei Ohtani sweepstakes
The Red Sox, Blue Jays, and Braves were listed as teams that could sign Ohtani, and they all have different reasons.
For Boston, it's about Fenway Park. The Red Sox are a team trying to get back to contention and signing Ohtani would obviously help them with that. They're also in a huge market and have the capability of paying Ohtani an absurd contract. Those things are true, but Fenway Park could play a big role. Ohtani has had a ton of success at Fenway Park as a hitter and a pitcher, and has said that it's one of his favorite parks. Boston isn't thought of highly because they're out east, but who knows what Ohtani is really thinking?
The Blue Jays have the advantage of having an entire country rooting for them. As Canada's only team, the Blue Jays give Ohtani the opportunity to become an icon in another country. Additionally, Ohtani has done very well at Rogers Centre in his career, and the Jays will be looking to make a big splash after a disappointing early exit.
The Braves are the most surprising team of the three, because it's unlikely they'll give the money Ohtani seeks. However, Ohtani could either convince them to do so, or sign on for less (it'd still be an absurd contract). The Braves give Ohtani not only the best chance to win in 2024, but for likely the rest of his career. They have virtually their entire core locked into very team-friendly long-term deals, and are set up to win for a very long time.
Will Ohtani sign with any of these dark horses? Probably not. Can he? There are reasons to believe so. It'll be fascinating to see which teams he'll actually consider.