Baseball's Biggest Mystery

After the likes of Babe Ruth and Sam Rice left the league in the 1930s, the prospect of being a 2-way player in professional baseball simply died out. No one developed their hitting and pitching skills at the same rate, and all eventually chose one or the other by the time they had played college ball. That is until Shohei Ohtani broke into the MLB scene in 2018, following a 5-year stint in the Japanese professional baseball league. With a triple-digit fastball velocity and a swing good enough for 171 home runs throughout his time in the MLB, Ohtani definitely lives up to his baseball predecessors. Although Ohtani, the 29-year-old MVP, has much to say about himself if he chose to, he keeps his personal life a complete mystery. While receiving the 2023 American League MVP award, he was stationed on his couch at home accompanied by no one else but his dog, whose name, in classic Ohtani fashion, is a mystery.

With the two-way superstar entering free agency this offseason and winter meetings, typically the site of player trades and free-agent signings, commencing next week Ohtani has kept any rumors about his potential landing spot under wraps. His agents have even said that any leaks as to teams he is considering will be held against that team in the ultimate final decision.

This secretive nature, however, is just how Ohtani likes it. Ohtani sustained an injury to his elbow last season which would impact his ability to pitch until 2025. For such a huge news break, Ohtani decided not even to disclose the type of procedure done on his arm. Ohtani spends much of his time back home in Japan, out of the limelight of the US Sports business when he can, and perhaps that is a good thing. The Americanized and flashy version of sports can be overwhelming to many, and Ohtani steering clear may be just the right thing for him and his career.

The Angels have not made the most of Ohtani or fellow generational superstar and MVP Mike Trout, having not made the playoffs since 2014. This has caused immense buzz about this winter and the Free Agency Market, and amid all the speculation, it is certain that one club will commit their future to the 2-way superstar who is expected to sign a record-setting deal of over $500 Million. So the question is...

Where will Ohtani Sign?

Let's take a look a a few possibilities

L.A. Dodgers

Sharing the same city as Ohtani's current team, the Dodgers appear to be the leading candidate for the superstar at this point. They have an uncharacteristically low payroll ($109 million active) going into next season, and Ohtani would provide a big boost to their 2024 aspirations

Toronto Blue Jays

A dark horse, Toronto has expressed interest in Ohtani, and their hitter-friendly ballpark favors him for sure. The Jays are owned by Rogers Communications, a gigantic telecommunications corporation who could hypothetically put in a giant bid.

Chicago Cubs

Following their historic 2016 World Series win breaking their 108-year title drought, the Cubs have slipped under the radar in the past few seasons. The Cubs are looking to make big improvements this offseason, started by hiring Craig Counsell as manager from division rival Milwaukee Brewers and their alleged pursuit of SP Shane Beiber. Ohtani could be the next big name headed to the Windy City.

SF Giants

The Giants need a big name to recaptivate their dormant fanbase after a couple of lackluster seasons. Ohtani could bring the necessary spark for both on-field production and commercial reasons. The Giants are somewhat famous for their partnership with The Cheesesteak Shop for advertisements and have been successful in campaigns in which a Giant features in one of their commercials. Perhaps Ohtani will be the next.

New York Yankees

Seemingly in conversation with every big name in free agency, the Yankees can once again flex their financial prowess with a big bid, but they also have their sights set on other players such as Juan Soto and Yoshinubo Yamamoto who might suit their system better

Texas Rangers

The reigning World Series Champs will always catch the eye of big-name free agents, but the odds of the Texas team landing Ohtani are pretty small. They have their own issues to face such as plugging the holes in their pitching staff, and Ohtani will not pitch until 2025. Signing Ohtani may also put the Rangers close to the luxury tax threshold and still leave them with roster problems to solve.

Well-Kept Secret

Amidst the whirlwind of speculation surrounding Shohei Ohtani's highly anticipated free agency decision, his characteristically secretive nature remains a defining aspect of this saga. Ohtani, a two-way superstar whose talent echoes the legends of baseball's past, has managed to keep the baseball world guessing, with no clear indication of his future destination. This discretion, a stark contrast to the often-publicized moves in the world of sports, adds an intriguing layer of mystery to the offseason. Wherever Shohei may go, one thing is certain: Ohtani's decision will be uniquely his own, a choice made away from the public eye and perhaps reflective of his preference for a low-profile yet impactful presence in the baseball world.


FOX Sports. (2023, November 29). Shohei Ohtani’s next team odds including Dodgers, Cubs, Rangers, Blue Jays. Shohei Ohtani’s next team odds including Dodgers, Cubs.

Press, M. J. T. (2023, December 1). The most expensive secret in baseball history. The Wall Street Journal.