Shohei Ohtani is MLB’s most interesting free agent this offseason, as the two-way player has a chance to set a record with his next contract. The 29-year-old will in all likelihood win his second MVP in three seasons on Thursday night, entering the open market at the perfect time.
However, Ohtani’s free agency courtship may not be as exciting as fans are used to seeing with free agents of the past. ESPN’s Jeff Passan reports that Ohtani wants to keep his visits out of the media spotlight this winter.
“If there is one thing to know about Shohei Ohtani’s free agency, it’s that you are unlikely to know much about it until he signs somewhere,” Passan wrote. “If visits between Ohtani and a team are reported publicly, it will be held against the team, so the circles will be tiny and tight.”
MLB insiders often report teams’ interest in free agents, making the entire process exciting for fans. However, Ohtani’s secretive free agency could keep fans in the dark until the moment he is signed.
Since 2021, Ohtani has hit 124 home runs and accumulated a .963 OPS, while pitching to a 2.84 ERA in 74 starts. He won the AL MVP in 2021, and after finishing second to Aaron Judge for the MVP last year, Ohtani will likely win the award again for his 2023 season.
As for Ohtani’s actual market, Passan reports that the Dodgers, Rangers and Red Sox are all teams that have, for various reasons, caught the star’s eye. However, Passan also named the Cubs, Giants, Mariners, Blue Jays and Mets who could get involved in the bidding at some point.