Shohei Ohtani’s Free Agency Decision Looms After Angels’ Disappointing 2023 Season

Former Angels Manager Joe Maddon Weighs in on Ohtani's Future

In the wake of the Los Angeles Angels’ lackluster 2023 season, which marked their ninth consecutive postseason absence, all eyes are on the future of their two-way superstar, Shohei Ohtani. The Halos’ struggles have left fans and pundits speculating about Ohtani’s next move, and former manager Joe Maddon recently provided insights into the player’s mindset as he enters free agency once more.

Key Takeaways:

  • Shohei Ohtani’s six-year career with the Angels has been marred by injuries and postseason disappointments, with the team failing to achieve a winning record or reach the playoffs.
  • Despite injuries, Ohtani’s talent has shone through, earning him two likely MVP awards, three consecutive All-Star selections, and a World Baseball Classic MVP in just three years.
  • Ohtani’s impending free agency has sparked interest from both New York and Los Angeles teams, with the Mets and Dodgers among the frontrunners to secure the services of this baseball sensation.

As the 2023 season came to a close, Ohtani’s injury woes continued, with elbow and oblique issues limiting his performance. However, the potential suitors for the Japanese icon remain undeterred.

New York, led by owner Steve Cohen’s deep pockets, presents an intriguing destination for Ohtani. The possibility of teaming up with fellow countryman Kodai Senga in Queens is on the horizon. Still, the Mets’ own 2023 postseason absence might give Ohtani pause, as he has expressed a desire to play for a win-or-nothing team.

“You work very hard to get to this particular juncture in your a professional career,” Maddon said of Ohtani reaching free agency , “and the rules are set up for him to do that. … He does want to win, and believe me, that’s not just lip service, he truly wants to win. I do believe that he’s going to go to a team that in his mind’s eye could be an annual contender. Annually get him to the playoffs. Annually give him that opportunity to pitch and hit on the largest stage.”

“The other point that I believe is that when he first got over here, he wanted to be on the west coast because it’s closer to Japan, obviously, and possibly more cultural similarities as opposed to different parts of the country. After being through the league several times and after all the successes he’s had, I believe that he’ll go anywhere from New York to Toronto to Seattle, to San Diego, whatever he’ll go anywhere because I think he’s been more Americanized in the sense that he’s comfortable with a lot of different things — he knows how this works.”

Via Foul Territory TV

Meanwhile, the cross-town rival Los Angeles Dodgers, perennial NL West champions and 100-game winners, are also in the hunt for Ohtani’s services. However, their disappointing postseason performance may make Ohtani consider other options as well.

Even without his pitching abilities in 2024 due to his recent injuries, Ohtani is set to become one of the most sought-after free agents in baseball history this winter. As he contemplates his future, the baseball world eagerly awaits Ohtani’s decision, which could reshape the landscape of the sport.

Gary Lee

Gary Lee, a mainstay at LA Sports Report, is not just a sports writer; he's a veritable institution in the realm of sports journalism. With an extensive and illustrious career that boasts stints with notable platforms like Sports Illustrated, Gary has consistently showcased an uncanny knack for capturing the essence of the game, regardless of the sport. His prowess isn't limited to the written word alone; Gary's vast experience extends to creating and curating sports websites, providing fans with in-depth analysis, up-to-date news, and captivating stories. For readers keen on insights into the Clippers, Dodgers, Galaxy, Kings, LAFC, Lakers, Rams, UCLA, and USC, Gary is your go-to guy.
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