How much will LA Angels pitcher Shohei Ohtani, 29, get when he hits free agency?
He has a problem with his arm and won’t be able to pitch anymore this year. If he has to undergo surgery, he’ll be out even longer. That could be a big factor in his free agency.
Ohtani started and batted second in the first game of the 2023 Major League Baseball doubleheader against the Cincinnati Reds at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, California, USA, on April 24. He felt discomfort in his right arm after the first inning of the second game.
He was diagnosed with a right ulnar collateral ligament injury. While surgery is still pending, team president Perry Minassian announced that “Ohtani will no longer pitch for the remainder of the season.”
Ohtani’s news became the biggest story of the day. MLB.com, local U.S. media, and Japanese media all focused on how much Ohtani could be worth when he becomes a free agent.
Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times wrote on social media, “Ohtani’s elbow is damaged. If he has a second Tommy John surgery, it will hurt his free agency this winter,” he wrote on social media.
MLB.com reported, “Ohtani’s free agency floor is expected to be 10 years, $500 million, but the final number could be well below that. Some believe his chances of becoming a $500 million man are now slim.”
On the other hand, the American media outlet ‘The Athletic’ said, “Ohtani is worth $500 million (about KRW 66.5 billion) as a free agent as a hitter alone,” and explained why: “The New York Yankees gave Aaron Judge nine years and $360 million (about KRW 47 billion). But Jersey has no chance of pitching, and Ohtani still has a chance (of pitching).”
However, it’s unclear if Ohtani will ever be able to get back on the mound and do the “two-hitter” thing. According to MLB.com, a National League executive said, “It’s hard to say. I don’t think anybody’s ever seen a guy like him,” said a National League executive, adding, “Now, with the injury…” he hedged his words.
Another National League team executive said, “I don’t know if you can pay him long-term with the idea that he can pitch. He’s still a great hitter. He could be a bullpen arm.” However, “his value and uniqueness have taken a big hit,” he said.
If Ohtani were to hit free agency after this season, the length of time he would be unable to pitch is expected to have a modest impact on his asking price.
A 10-year, $1 billion contract was being talked about for Ohtani. However, even if he could return to the mound in 2025, it would be difficult for him to pitch in 2024. However, a long-term deal could give the team a “two-hitter. According to MLB.com, an executive from a major league club said, “If you sign him to a longer contract, you can use him for a long time, even if you lose next year.”메이저사이트
It will be interesting to see where Ohtani ends up after the season, under what terms, and how long he’ll be a two-hitter.