Batting Around: When will Shohei Ohtani leave the Angels and where will he go?

Throughout the offseason, the experts at CBS Sports MLB will bring you a weekly Batting Around panel discussion breaking down just about everything. Breaking news, a historical question, thoughts on the future of baseball, all sorts of things. Last week we discussed where Carlos Correa landed. This week, we’re going to discuss Shohei Ohtani’s future.

In which team will Ohtani start 2023, finish 2023 and start 2024?

RJ Anderson: At this point, I think you have to say Ohtani will start on Angels. Then things get complicated. The Angels look improved on paper, although 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 either be a Dodger or a Met in 2024 one way or another. For the sake of Angels fans, I hope they get a playoff series from him by then.

Matt Snyder: I know it sounds juicy to say he’s going to be traded next year and I’m not averse to talking about it. Hell, it’s fun and I could be wrong. I just think with Arte Moreno looking to sell the team, his biggest asset is that Ohtani is on the roster. In terms of ticket sales, merchandise and international marketing, it’s a total monster and a new owner would love to start with an Ohtani. That’s how I get to him starting the 2023 season with the Angels. I will say that it also allowed him to finish the season with the club.

As for the start of 2024, Ohtani will have hit free agency and we know he wants to win. He did not hide that he was tired of missing the playoffs. The Dodgers are right there, not too far away, and they look to be in great shape to add a mega-contract to the books starting next year. I 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 keep him until the deadline. This means Ohtani hits free agency and runs screaming from the Halos. I will 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 are taking steps to fight in 2023 (Tyler Anderson, Hunter Renfroe, etc.) and trading Ohtani would go against that. I think the Angels will stay in the hunt for an expanded playoff spot long enough for them to keep Ohtani at the deadline and try to get going, so I’ll say he starts and finishes 2023 in Anaheim.

As for 2024, I think he’s riding the freeway to the Dodgers as a free agent. It looks like they’re planning to reset their competitive break-even tax rate this year, which will give them a ton of flexibility in the upcoming offseason. The Dodgers didn’t make many long-term deals under President of Baseball Operations Andrew Friedman, but the ones they did went to the best players in the sport (Mookie Betts, Freddie Freeman, etc.) and Ohtani agrees. I think he is an Angel throughout 2023 and a Dodger to start 2024.

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