Much of the offseason not only for the Los Angeles Angels, but for many other teams, is based on the decision Shohei Ohtani makes. The Angels are one of several teams still trying to land Ohtani, and how they approach the rest of their offseason likely depends on what he decides.
Many had speculated or perhaps hoped that Ohtani would make his decision by the time the Winter Meetings occur in Nashville. For those keeping track, those start today, Sunday, December 3. Jon Morosi of MLB Network still seems to think that an Ohtani decision is coming sometime this week.
When will Shohei Ohtani make his free agent decision?
While Morosi and the optimists seem to think an Ohtani decision could be imminent, others, like Bob Nightengale of USA Today have other thoughts.
"Despite the rampant rumors, unless someone suddenly writes a $1 billion check, Ohtani is not signing at the winter meetings. But, at least, he’s getting a little closer.- Bob Nightengale - USA Today
There’s the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Angels. The Toronto Blue Jays. The Chicago Cubs. The San Francisco Giants. And at least one other team, call them a mystery team, are among the finalists. But sorry, Ohtani is not on the verge of a decision. Give it a week, certainly before the Christmas holidays, but not quite yet. "
Nightengale doesn't believe it'll take Ohtani as long as it took free agents like Bryce Harper and Manny Machado to sign, but he doesn't think a decision will come as quickly as Morosi does. This isn't the end of the world, but the longer it takes, the harder it is for the Angels (and others) to react to the decision.
While things have been moving slowly so far this offseason, activity will pick up at the Winter Meetings as they always do. Free agents will fly off the board, and trades will be made. The Angels will not be as aggressive on other free agents, especially the higher-prices ones, until Ohtani makes his decision.
Shohei and his team have been extremely tight-lipped about his entire free agency process. Insiders have gotten a small glimpse, but the simple fact is nobody truly knows what's going on inside Shohei's head. Nobody knows who the favorite is or when he'll sign.
For now, all we can do is wait and let rumors continue to trickle through, and hope Shohei signs sooner than later (with the Angels, preferably).