And with that quote heard around the world, every fan and bettor’s mind went to where the unicorn will land in 2024.
The 28-year-old Ohtani leads the majors in home runs and signed a one-year, $30 million contract extension in October, allowing him to become an unrestricted free agent this offseason. The two-way player stated that he’d like to be on a contender. However, the slumping Angels (45-46) have not made the postseason since he joined the team in 2018.
Despite his greatness, the Angels are 37-43 against the spread (ATS) when he’s pitched in his career and 368-431 ATS and 373-426 straight up (SU) in all games since 2018 (per FOX Sports Research).
In the 72 games Ohtani started as a designated hitter this season, the Angels have gone 33-39 ATS and 32-40 SU overall.
With the Angels sitting in fourth place in the AL West going into the second half of the season, will the team decide to part ways with the generational player to start a rebuild?
If he does get traded, here are the hypothetical odds on some potential landing spots.
SHOHEI OHTANI’S 2024 TEAM ODDS*
Los Angeles Dodgers: +200 (bet $10 to win $30 total)
New York Mets: +350 (bet $10 to win $45 total)
New York Yankees: +375 (bet $10 to win $47.50 total)
San Diego Padres: +600 (bet $10 to win $70 total)
Atlanta Braves: +750 (bet $10 to win $85 total)
San Francisco Giants: +800 (bet $10 to win $90 total)
St. Louis Cardinals: +800 (bet $10 to win $90 total)
The Field (including Angels): +1000 (bet $10 to win $110 total)
* odds as of 7/12/2023
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The Los Angeles Dodgers have the shortest odds to land Shotime, and understandably so, as the team could be an ideal destination for the superstar if staying in Southern California and winning are important factors in his decision. While Ohtani has been on the outside looking into the playoffs, the Boys in Blue have made the postseason every season the stud has been in the majors. The team also hasn’t been shy about spending money.
“If you took a poll of people in the industry, it would be even more lopsided for the Dodgers,” FOX Sports MLB reporter and insider Ken Rosenthal said on Foul Territory. “The overwhelming consensus in that poll and the people you talk to around baseball is the L.A. Dodgers.
“The sense in the industry is that that’s where he’s going to end up.”
And according to the manager of L.A.’s blue team, Ohtani moving from Orange County to the real City of Angels would be a dream.
“I don’t think there’s a manager that wouldn’t want Shohei,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts told reporters. “But right now, he’s an Angel.”
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Will the Mets throw their hats into the ring?
“I’m going to go put this [Mets] hat on him right now,” Senga said through interpreter Hiro Fujiwara on the eve of the All-Star Game.
One thing is for sure, Mets owner Steven Cohen has not been shy about spending money.
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Further down the odds board are the San Francisco Giants, a franchise that’s entering the second half of the season with a 49-41 record.
San Francisco has made the playoffs once since the Angels signed Shohei.
And even though the Giants are just a few games over .500, Rosenthal thinks Ohtani to San Francisco could be worth a look.
“Are the Giants a competitive enough team for him to entertain? I would say the answer to that is yes,” he said.
Speaking of stages, New York is one of the biggest platforms on which any athlete in any sport can compete. And YES Network Yankees reporter Jack Curry mentioned in May that NYC could still be in play for Ohtani.
“I don’t think that interest [in Ohtani] has diminished. It’s probably increased,” Curry said. “The price tag is a lot more than it was back then. Again, we’re talking about something in the future. We’ll see, but I’d be surprised to think the Yankees wouldn’t be involved in adding a talent at Ohtani’s level.”
Mariners (the field) +1000
According to an MLB legend, Seattle — a team that doesn’t appear on the hypothetical odds short list — could also be in the running.
“At the end of the day, the Angels have a massive decision here in the next few weeks,” explained FOX MLB analyst, three-time AL MVP Alex Rodriguez. “If it was me, I would trade him.”
“This, where we are right now in the Pacific Northwest, you’ve seen it with Ichiro [Suzuki]. You have a formula where Ohtani can work really well if you pair him up with a guy like [Luis] Castillo and offensively with J-Rod [Julio Rodríguez].”
A-Rod also suggested that the Angels need to also consider moving fellow superstar Mike Trout, whose 12-year, $426.5 million guaranteed contract runs until 2030. Trading the two superstars will allow the Angels to quickly replenish the roster.
“I think the Angels maybe win a world championship in five years if they do this,” A-Rod continued. “First, you trade Ohtani. Then you trade Trout, and you try to get five or six players. Load up with first rounders.”
And if you watched Tuesday’s All-Star Game on FOX Sports, you know the Seattle faithful are all in on the Ohtani train.
Time for Angels to trade Shohei Ohtani?
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Whether it’s the Dodgers, Giants or another team, some of MLB’s most recognizable names agree that it’s time for Shohei to move on.
“If you look at the [World Baseball Classic], the whole world was watching,” 14-time All-Star and FOX MLB analyst Derek Jeter noted. “Ohtani was a shining star. So you want, as a baseball fan, to see them in those situations. I think he’s been hidden out there just because [the Angels] haven’t been on that stage yet.
“Something’s going to have to change because I know players. That’s what they want to do. They want to have the opportunity to play for a championship. They want to be on that stage so they can showcase their talents.”
The Angels have encountered a handful of recent woes recently. They lost five in a row and nine of 10 heading into the All-Star break. Ohtani is battling a blistered finger, Trout is out several weeks with a fractured wrist and Halos third baseman Anthony Rendon — the team’s third big-ticket player — is out with a leg contusion.
All signs surely point to a Shohei exit. Right?
Stay tuned to FOX Sports for the latest news on Ohtani’s future.
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