Shohei Ohtani and the Anaheim Angels have agreed to terms on a one year, $30 million deal for the 2023 season, per reports. Ohtani, who eligible for free agency after the 2023 season, would have been arbitration-eligible this offseason, had he and the team not worked out an agreement.
This is going to be an interesitng offseason for the Angels and Ohtani. Ohtani won the Rookie of the Year Award in 2018, won the MVP in 2021, and is likely to end up in the top two in the MVP voting this year. His being both an excellent starting pitcher and an impact middle-of-the-order bat makes him completely unique in baseball.
The Angels would seem likely to want to engage with the 28 year old in contract extension talks this offseason; however, the Angels have been bad the entire time Ohtani has been with them, and one has to wonder if Ohtani is going to be willing to commit himself to the Angels long-term, without even testing the free agent market. There’s also the fact that Arte Moreno is reportedly looking to sell the team, and when a team is for sale, they don’t usually end up making huge long-term deals of the type that would likely be required to keep Ohtani in Anaheim.
Which means that he could end up being on the trade market this offseason. The Boston Red Sox dealt Mookie Betts when he was a year away from free agency, getting Jeter Downs, Alex Verdugo and Connor Wong in the deal, while also unloading David Price, who was owed $96 million over the next three years, and sending $48 million to the Dodgers to help subsidize that deal.
The prospect return for Ohtani would likely be greater than what Betts fetched, since there isn’t a Price-sized contract to move in the deal. If Anaheim decides to make him available, one has to think just about every team that fancies itself a contender in 2023 will be in the mix.