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Is Shohei Ohtani Exploring Free Agency?

Could Shohei Ohtani possibly be exploring free agency by season’s end in 2023? The two-way Japanese star is about to have his deal expire.

Could Shohei Ohtani possibly be exploring free agency by season’s end in 2023? The two-way Japanese import is in the final year of his contract with the LA Angels. Now, if he does end up hitting the market, he will be a hot commodity with multiple suitors vying for him. I mention here in an article from June of last year the potential value Ohtani can bring to a team, but at a hefty price tag.

The expectation for Ohtani’s contract is in the neighborhood of potentially more than half a billion dollars. For a player that has the capabilities like Ohtani, you would expect a big-money deal in the offseason.

Will He Be Exploring Free Agency?

Well… maybe. Yes, he is in the last year of his current contract. But the Halos look to him as a franchise centerpiece alongside Mike Trout.

And Ohtani’s agent, Nez Balelo, of CAA Sports, is open to the possibility of talking about a potential extension with the Angels, as Alden Gonzalez of ESPN writes here. “I’ve always been open to it,” Balelo says. “But there’s several layers to it. Shohei’s earned the right to play through the year, explore free agency, and we’ll see where it shakes out.”

Despite personal success, it hasn’t led to team success, as the Angels have not seen postseason play since 2014. And Balelo wants Ohtani to be part of a winning culture. “He’s so competitive, like all great players are. So of course, they want to experience postseason, of course they’d love to be in the World Series,” Balelo said. “But is that the deciding factor? I don’t know. We’ll just have to wait and see.”

So, the question will remain, will Shohei Ohtani officially be exploring free agency after this season? We will have to wait and see. If he does, he will be a big prize for multiple teams to compete for. With his talent, he could be a key cog toward a successful season for any franchise.

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