Shohei Ohtani (29-LA Angels), Major League Baseball’s (MLB) all-stars in free agency, is finally on the market. The bidding war is expected to be fierce.
“All seven players who have been presented with qualifying offers this year, including Ohtani, appear to have decided to decline them,” MLBTradeRumors, which focuses on big-league moves, reported on Friday, citing MLB.com’s Mark Paynesand.토토사이트
A qualifying offer (QO) is a one-year contract offered by an organization to a player who is eligible for free agency. The amount is an average of the salaries of the top 125 players in Major League Baseball. This year’s qualifying offer is $20.32 million, up from $19.65 million last year.
It’s not unusual for free agents to turn down qualifying offers. Last year, only two of the 14 qualifying offer recipients (Jacques Peterson and Martin Perez) accepted them, and big free agents like Jacob deGrom and Dansby Swanson turned them down. Cody Bellinger, Blake Snell, and Josh Hader are among the big names who reportedly turned it down this year, along with Ohtani.
Ohtani, however, is on a different level. He is the “special one” of this year’s free agent class. In 135 games this season, Ohtani hit .304 with 44 home runs, 95 RBI, 102 runs scored, 20 doubles, a .412 slugging percentage, a .654 on-base percentage, and a 1.066 OPS, and in 23 games, he went 10-5 with a 3.14 ERA and 167 strikeouts in 132 innings. His Wins Above Replacement (WAR) ranked first in the majors according to both FanGraphs (9.0) and Baseball-Reference (10.0). This was a tremendous accomplishment despite an early season-ending tear of the medial collateral ligament (UCL) in his right elbow.
The best part is that he’s gotten more complete as a two-hitter with each passing year. At the plate, he’s consistently been a threat with the long ball, and this year he broke the triple digits and OPS 1 mark for the first time since his big league debut. On the mound, after struggling with injuries and poor performances in his first three years (2018-2020), he posted 15 wins and a 2.33 ERA last year. This year, injuries again prevented him from reaching the postseason, but he still managed to reach the 10-win plateau. A team that acquires Ohtani could get 15 wins and a 40-homer hitter at the same time.
In MLB.com’s latest free-agent rankings, Ohtani was the only player on the first tier. “Even though he won’t be pitching until 2025, Ohtani is a player who can make an impact in next year’s lineup right away. The team could have an All-Star-caliber pitcher in the rotation next season,” and “even after the surgery, Ohtani could earn one of the largest contracts in major league history.”
“Ohtani will be able to decide relatively quickly where he wants to play,” said NBC Sports Area. He is the most sought-after free agent of this offseason and of all time,” and “Ohtani is expected to sign a contract worth at least $500 million (about 65.65 billion won) even if he doesn’t throw a ball until 2025 after undergoing a second elbow ligament splicing surgery (Tommy John surgery).”
In many other free agent rankings, Ohtani is at the top of the list. According to MLB.com, “Ohtani is arguably the best free agent coming off elbow surgery. It’s unclear when he’ll return to the mound, but he’ll likely match Aaron Judge’s (New York Yankees) contract (nine years, $360 million) based on his hitting alone.” “He could get a lot more than Judge, but he’ll likely get less guaranteed money than he would have without the injury,” said MLB.com.
However, the rejection of the qualifying offer does not mean that Ohtani is not in favor of a short-term contract. ESPN recently reported that “according to Ohtani’s aides, he is open to signing a very high-priced short-term deal.” The current major league record is $43.3 million, paid by the New York Mets to Max Scherzer (now Texas) and Justin Verlander (now Houston). If Ohtani signs a one- or two-year deal, he could easily surpass it.