Will Ohtani Sign With Dodgers, Rangers or Blue Jays at MLB Winter Meetings?


Nov 30, 2023

In the world of MLB, all eyes are on Shohei Ohtani, whose next move could significantly impact the entire free agency market. The anticipation surrounding Ohtani’s decision is so intense that many teams are hesitant to make any significant signings until his fate is determined, as it could redirect their financial resources.

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As we approach the big winter meetings, the speculation around Ohtani’s destination is intensifying. Traditionally, baseball’s offseason moves are more prolonged than in other sports, but with the winter meetings, things could accelerate, especially for a high-caliber player like Ohtani. Teams are eager to finalize such a pivotal signing before Christmas, not just for the on-field talent but also for the significant financial and marketing boost it would bring, including season ticket sales, jersey sales, and generating overall momentum.

Ohtani’s influence extends beyond the United States; his popularity in Japan is so immense that people wear his jersey in mass numbers on the 17th day of each month. This international appeal adds a substantial layer to his marketability, making him an incredibly valuable asset for any team.

Currently, the Los Angeles Dodgers are seen as the frontrunners to acquire Ohtani. His residence in Los Angeles and expressed admiration for Dodgers player Mookie Betts make them a logical choice. The Dodgers, needing his caliber of play, seem like a natural fit.

However, other teams like the Texas Rangers and the Toronto Blue Jays are also in the mix. The Rangers offer the advantage of Texas’ tax-free environment, which could be financially appealing. The Blue Jays, often underestimated in terms of financial power, are backed by a massive corporate entity, Rogers Communications. This backing makes them a surprisingly strong contender despite the complexities involved in making such a significant financial commitment.

The process for a team like the Blue Jays to sign a player of Ohtani’s stature involves not just the team’s management but also approval from a corporate board of directors. This scenario was illustrated when they considered signing David Price to an extension, showing the pragmatic approach of a corporation-run team.

Amidst these discussions, there’s a general consensus that Ohtani might still end up with the Dodgers. The speculation extends to other players like Juan Soto potentially joining the New York Yankees and Cody Bellinger going to the Blue Jays. These moves are not just about the immediate impact on the field but also about sending a message to fans and other players about the team’s ambition and financial capacity. The situation with Ohtani is more than just a signing; it’s a strategic play with implications that ripple across the league.

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Thumbnail photo via Kiyoshi Mio-USA TODAY Sports

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