Tier 1: The favorites
5) Chicago Cubs
4) Texas Rangers
3) San Francisco Giants
2) New York Mets
1) Los Angeles Dodgers
These five teams should be considered the favorites to land Shohei Ohtani this offseason. They're teams that are set up to be competitive for a long time with the pockets to make a deal work.
The Cubs might've collapsed to finish out the 2023 season, but should be ready to take the next step in 2024 and make the playoffs. Adding a player like Ohtani could be what puts them over the top. They were the only team that didn't play in a western division that was considered a finalist for Ohtani his first time around, and have the money to make it happen.
The Rangers might've just won the World Series, but who's to say they're going to slow down? They've been ultra-aggressive in each of the last two offseasons and could absolutely try and steal Ohtani away from their AL West rivals. They were also another team that was reportedly ready to go big on Ohtani at the trade deadline, presumably with the goal of making him a Texas Ranger for a very long time.
The Giants are a team that whiffed twice last offseason when looking for their new face of the franchise, watching Aaron Judge sign for less money to stay with the Yankees and watching Carlos Correa stay in Minnesota after failing his physical. I'm not sure they have the roster quite as good as the others and AT&T Park is brutal for left-handed hitters, but they have the money and location Ohtani will want, plus a ton of desperation.
If Ohtani considered an East Coast team, the Mets should absolutely be considered a very clear favorite. Despite a down year in 2023 they have a great core which includes fellow countryman Kodai Senga. The Mets also have Steve Cohen and his ability to hand Ohtani a blank check. The Mets have landed several big names since Cohen took over, and there's a good chance he offers him the most money.
The Dodgers have been considered the favorites all along, and I see no reason why that should be different now. They make the playoffs every year, and a player like Ohtani could be what puts them over the top. He'd stay in Los Angeles and the Dodgers are another team that can easily pay him what he wants. Chance to win, location, money, they've got it all.