Shohei Ohtani is the AL MVP, so where will he go from here?

Your 2023 AL MVP Shohei Ohtani
Oakland Athletics v Los Angeles Angels
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Shohei Ohtani's free agency conundrum

With his contract up for renewal, Ohtani's fate in free agency remains a hot topic of discussion. His unprecedented talent and demand have spurred speculation about the potential contract offers he might receive.

The usual suspects (the New York Mets, New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, Chicago Cubs, Los Angeles Dodgers, San Francisco Giants, Texas Rangers, and Toronto Blue Jays) are all expected to be in the mix. However, some exciting prospects have also emerged. The Seattle Mariners and the San Diego Padres are two teams mentioned in speculative discussions.

The Los Angeles Dodgers appear to be the frontrunners in the Ohtani sweepstakes. They are contenders with adequate firepower, to their winning track record, significant financial resources to afford him, and gaps in the DH and long-term rotation, Location plus, and they can allow him to just DH next season to recover appropriately. 

The Yankees have some serious interest and can offer as much as the Dodgers but with the added Manhattan prestige. The Yankees would be an exciting fit for Ohtani, and a Judge-Ohtani combo would be outstanding to watch that MVP race unfold.

However, the timing of his UCL surgery, which will prevent him from pitching in the upcoming season, has added a layer of complexity to the free agency deliberations. Despite this, the consensus remains that Ohtani's unique talent is worth a significant investment.

Lastly, the Seattle Mariners have been interested and could be a dark horse in the Ohtani race. The Mariners' President of Baseball Operations, Jerry Dipoto, though coy about their pursuit of Ohtani, has clarified that they are looking for a full-time designated hitter who can add firepower to their lineup. Given Ohtani's record as a designated hitter, the fit seems almost too perfect.

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