Shohei Ohtani

Ahead of historic free agency, a look at 6 potential landing spots for Shohei Ohtani

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As Chicago baseball fans soak in an All-Star break with two teams performing well below expectations, it's natural to look ahead to the upcoming offseason for opportunities for the Cubs and White Sox to improve their clubs heading into 2024.

However, fans of all 30 baseball teams will have their eyes squared in on one player, whose impending free agency is poised to test the limits of what can reasonably offered to an athlete in a contract.

Shohei Ohtani, who turned 29 just over a week ago, is a unicorn not just in today's game, but in all of baseball history.

Redefining the limitations of what baseball players are capable of, Ohtani has emerged over the past several seasons as both one of the game's finest pitchers and perhaps its most feared slugger.

Following an MVP season in 2021 and an incredible follow-up season in 2022, Ohtani is continuing to push boundaries.

This season, Ohtani leads all of the majors with six triples and 32 home runs, with video game-like offensive metrics.

Ohtani leads all of baseball in slugging percentage, OPS, OPS+ and total bases at the All-Star break, with his 1.050 OPS and 182 OPS+ exceeding what a league MVP compiles in a given season.

That's of course, not to mention his 3.32 ERA over 17 starts on the mound, leading all of baseball by allowing just six hits per nine innings.

Needless to say, Ohtani's free agency will be unlike any other in baseball history, with the monetary value widely expected to exceed any contract in the past.

Here's a look at six teams where Shohei Ohtani may end up next season:

Los Angeles Dodgers

Perhaps the most financially feasible outcome is Ohtani simply heading north on the Santa Ana Freeway and joining the interleague rival Los Angeles Dodgers.

A perennial contender and recent world champion, the Dodgers have built a reputation as an organization with a farm system continually churning out homegrown talent while also never shying away to spend big money in free agency.

The Dodgers turned heads last season when they sat out on many of the market's biggest names after a 111-51 season came to a shocking end in the NLDS at the hands of the San Diego Padres, with speculation arising that the Dodgers were preparing to make a run at Ohtani in 2024.

Ohtani would find himself entrenched on a win-now team at Chavez-Ravine, and the Dodgers have proven to have the pocketbook to make the move happen.

New York Yankees

A serious contender for any major free agent by default, the Yankees remain the most valuable team in the sport and have not shown any indication that they will stop spending anytime soon.

A hallmark of perennial success, the Yankees last finished under .500 in 1992, and haven't finished worse than 84-78 since the 1994 players' strike.

Still in search of their first title and pennant since 2009, the Yankees recently locked down franchise cornerstone Aaron Judge, and in all likelihood would love to give him a long-term counterpart.

Los Angeles Angels

Far from the most tantalizing option, Ohtani may simply stay put with the Angels, though demonstration from the team that they are closer to a contender is likely needed for that to happen.

At a 45-46 record at the All-Star break, the Angels are five games outside of a Wild Card spot, poised to miss the postseason for the ninth consecutive year.

Despite being teammates with who is widely regarded to be the other half of the best two players on the planet, the Angels have struggled to build a contender over the years. A consistently mediocre pitching staff and free agent contracts that have not panned out have left the Angels in perpetual purgatory.

However, if the Angels make other moves on the free agent market or perhaps make the most extravagant offer, Ohtani may stay right where he is at.

Seattle Mariners

After recently getting swooned by fans during the All-Star Game, the Mariners have positioned themselves as a notable dark-horse to land the blockbuster of a century.

Seattle generally presents itself as a unique free agent destination by default, thanks to none other than geography.

Typically dealing with the longest travel schedule in the league, Mariners players are tasked with making a difficult adjustment while also being presented an opportunity to seize a unique advantage at home.

The city is also home to one of the league's more popular ballparks and a large Japanese American population, and a franchise that is likely one major piece away from being a bona fide title contender.

New York Mets

While the Mets have broken the bank in free agency the past several years, owner Steve Cohen has shown no restraint in his desire to spend to build a contender, a desire that may be even further amplified on the heels of what has been an incredibly disappointing season so far.

Though signing Ohtani to what figures to be a contract north of $500 million would push the Mets into unprecedented luxury tax territory, the lack of recent postseason success for the club could drive such desperation.

With Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer both aging and the latter only holding a player option with the club next season, the Mets may try to take the ultimate win-now approach next season.

Chicago Cubs

Perhaps the biggest sleeper of Ohtani's potential destinations, the Cubs have seldom lived up to their big market status in free agency in recent seasons.

One year after making their second-largest free agency commitment in team history to Dansby Swanson via a seven-year, $177 million deal, a large commitment to Ohtani would propel the Cubs to be division favorites and title contenders.

Unlike other potential destinations, the Cubs do not offer much more certainty at contention than the Angels do, which will likely impede their already long-shot case.

However, if the Cubs have a significant offer that's been kept under wraps and manage to post a strong finish to the season, the North Side could appear to be tantalizing to Ohtani.

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