Even before this season started, fans and insiders have been predicting the contract Shohei Ohtani will sign this offseason. Virtually none of these predictions ever have Shohei ending up re-signing with the Los Angeles Angels, and it's easy to see why.
Since signing Shohei prior to the 2018 season, the Angels have not made the playoffs a single time. To make matters worse, they haven't even finished a season with a winning record. When Ohtani has been playing his MVP-caliber baseball in the last three seasons, the Angels haven't even reached 80 wins. If winning is Shohei's number one priority, the Angels will have a hard time selling themselves to him.
The team everyone seems to have Shohei going to is the Dodgers, and this prediction from Joel Reuter at Bleacher Report follows that same script. He predicts Shohei will join the Angels' crosstown rivals and put on a Dodgers uniform.
This proposed deal that would bring Shohei Ohtani to the Dodgers is one the LA Angels have to top
There's every reason to believe Shohei will want to join the Dodgers. He wants to win, and they're a winning organization. They might only have one World Series championship in the last 11 years, but they've made the postseason every year in that span. They've won three pennants in that span. Maybe Shohei is the missing piece that gets them another World Series title. A winner in the same area for a ton of money feels like the perfect dream for Shohei.
Reuter does not reveal the money he predicts Shohei will make with his Dodgers contract, but he believes Ohtani will sign an eight-year, incentive-structured deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers. This is not a rumored offer, it's just Reuter's opinion. With that being said, eight years? That's it?
Look, I understand that the arm is a major concern. Ohtani will not be pitching in 2024 and he's already 29 years old. There's a very good chance he ends whatever contract he signs as just a DH. Concerns are real for a player like Ohtani, but eight years feels laughable, especially when it's an incentive-structured deal. Xander Bogaerts is older than Ohtani and he signed an 11-year deal to join the Padres. The Angels gave an older Albert Pujols ten years when it was assumed he'd end up as just a DH.
If the Angels have any desire to keep the best player in baseball, topping an eight-year deal seems very feasible. At least giving Shohei something like ten years with incentives to earn more is a better deal than what Reuter believes the Dodgers will give him.
There's always the chance Ohtani will pass up more money from the Angels to join the Dodgers for less. If that happens, it is what it is. They gave it their best shot. Letting Ohtani walk across town for an incentive-based deal over eight years seems quite foolish.