Throughout the offseason, the CBS Sports MLB experts will bring you a weekly Batting Around roundtable breaking down pretty much anything. The latest news, a historical question, thoughts about the future of baseball, all sorts of stuff. Last week we discussed Carlos Correa's landing spot. This week we're going to tackle Shohei Ohtani's future.
On which team will Ohtani start 2023, finish 2023, and start 2024?
R.J. Anderson: At this point, I think you have to say Ohtani will start on the Angels. Things get tricky after that. The Angels do seem improved on paper, though I don't know if they've made enough gains to think they're sure to be good. I will say that I believe Ohtani will be either a Dodger or a Met come 2024 one way or another. For the sake of Angels fans, I hope that they get one playoff run from him before then.
Matt Snyder: I know it seems juicy to say he's going to be traded in the next year and I'm not opposed to talking about it. Hell, it's fun and I could be wrong. I just think that with Arte Moreno looking to sell the team, his biggest asset is Ohtani being on the roster. In terms of ticket sales, merchandise and international marketing, he's a total monster and a new owner would love to start with an Ohtani. That's how I arrive at him starting the 2023 season with the Angels. I'll say that contributes him ending the season with the club as well.
As for the start of 2024, Ohtani will have hit free agency and we know he wants to win. He hasn't made it secret that he's tired of missing the playoffs. The Dodgers are right there, not too far away and they look to be in fine shape to add a mega-contract to the books starting next year. I'll go with them.
Dayn Perry: I don't think the Angels will trade him this offseason, and I suspect they'll be relevant enough in 2023 to hang on to him through the deadline. That means Ohtani hits free agency and runs screaming from the Halos. I'll say the Yankees decide to tap into their vast resources and add him to the fold alongside Aaron Judge.
Mike Axisa: Yeah, at this point I think Ohtani will start next year with the Angels. They're making moves geared toward contending in 2023 (Tyler Anderson, Hunter Renfroe, etc.) and trading Ohtani would run counter to that. I think the Angels will hang around the race for an expanded postseason spot long enough that they keep Ohtani at the deadline and try to go for it, so I'll say he starts and finishes 2023 in Anaheim.
As for 2024, I think he goes up the freeway to the Dodgers as a free agent. It looks like they're planning to reset their competitive balance tax rate this year and that will leave them with a ton of flexibility next offseason. The Dodgers haven't done many long-term deals under president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman, but the ones they have done have gone to best in the sport kinda players (Mookie Betts, Freddie Freeman, etc.), and Ohtani fits. I think he's an Angel all of 2023 and a Dodger to begin 2024.