Major League Baseball
Ranking potential Shohei Ohtani trade destinations
Major League Baseball

Ranking potential Shohei Ohtani trade destinations

Updated Jul. 17, 2023 4:56 p.m. ET

We're officially on Shohei Ohtani watch. 

The two-way superstar appears almost certain to be on the move; it's just a matter of whether it'll happen prior to the Aug. 1 trade deadline or when he's a free agent this offseason. 

I've been outspoken over the last couple of weeks about why the Angels need to trade Ohtani, as they've sputtered recently with Mike Trout out for the foreseeable future. In fact, the Angels blew another lead in the ninth inning while I was recording the latest episode of "Flippin' Bats" on Sunday against the Astros

Reports have emerged in recent days indicating the Angels might be more willing than ever to listen to trade offers for their star player. If a team trades for him, the Angels reportedly are seeking multiple top-100 prospects. If a team wants to sign him this offseason, they might have to spend over $600 million.


With that in mind, here are my five most likely destinations for where Ohtani will end up in 2024. 

5. New York Yankees

They just slid in here based on recent conversations. Some reports emerged that the Yankees are the most likely trade target for Ohtani, and they're going to push fairly hard for him.

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While I believe far more in the top four teams' chances to get Ohtani than the Yankees, the reason why I have them in my top five is that if he gets traded anywhere, that team will have a bit more likelihood of signing him just because it's a place he'll have some familiarity with. I think he wants to be on the West Coast, which is why he signed where he did several years back. But if he gets traded to an East Coast team, he'll have a couple of months to see if it's somewhere he's willing to commit for years.

If it's ultimately the Yankees who get him, that's a pretty good place for him to be, with a good amount of support around him. Ohtani would have another ace by his side in Gerrit Cole and would have the ultimate lineup protection in Aaron Judge. With the Angels, especially with Trout out now, he's had to be the star hitter and the ace. 

But I think this is a long shot.

4. Seattle Mariners

I think the original reason he didn't sign there in 2017 was to not step on the legacy Ichiro built in Seattle — at least that's what I heard.

Fast-forward six years and Ohtani has his own culture now, while Ichiro's culture is what it is. We all know Shohei Ohtani. We know his legacy. He's not going to step on Ichiro's legacy by going there. They're their own players with their own legacies. 

There's also a big Japanese following in Seattle because of Ichiro and past players who have gone there. There's a Japanese presence there. 

Ohtani also spoke about how good the fan base was during his recent trip up there for the All-Star Game, when they were chanting, "Come to Seattle!" They gave him standing ovations. He has spent offseasons there. It's certainly not a long shot for him to end up in Seattle considering the roots. 

3. San Francisco Giants

The Giants were looking to do whatever possible to sign a star player last offseason. There's a hole burned in their pocket from the moves they tried to make. They're going to have to fork over a bit more this year if they want Ohtani. 

SF has been winning under the radar this year. They're just missing that superstar. They pitch well. They have clutch hitting. They're doing it all to a degree this year without a superstar. Imagine a guy like Ohtani joining this team.

Angels are reportedly listening to offers for Shoehi Ohtani ahead of trade deadline

They certainly had the right idea last offseason when they went after Aaron Judge, whose decision came down to the Yankees and Giants. They lost out on him, but shortly after agreed to terms on a mega-deal with Carlos Correa. That didn't happen, though, because of the shortstop's physicals. By the time that saga concluded, there were no more star free agents.

A year after the dust has settled, the Giants will be able to hand a big check to the biggest free agent in the history of sports. I think they'll make a pretty hard play for him.

2. New York Mets

Let me reiterate this: I don't think Ohtani will want to end up on the East Coast. 

With that said, Steve Cohen has the amount of "F You" money to make a difference. Now, I don't think Ohtani's No. 1 interest is money. But there's a difference between $600 million and Steve Cohen coming along and saying, "How's $800 million sound?" He has the amount of money not just to move the needle a little bit, but to play a different game than everybody else. And he's shown he's willing to play that game. 

There's also a bit of a prior connection for Ohtani here. Mets general manager Billy Eppler is the one who brought Ohtani to the Angels, where he worked from 2015-20. Eppler's relationship with Ohtani predates his Dec. 2017 signing, though, as he actually scouted him when he was still working with the Yankees prior to 2015.

1. Los Angeles Dodgers

The Dodgers are the perfect storm. Everything has been pointing to this happening. 

Ohtani's No. 1 goal is to win. The Dodgers win. Ohtani wants to be on the West Coast. The Dodgers are on the West Coast and in an area Ohtani's already familiar with. (Though he'd probably have to move, because you can live 10 miles from Dodgers Stadium and it could still take two hours to get to the ballpark). 

Are the Los Angeles Dodgers the top landing spot for Shohei Ohtani?

The most notable thing, though, was what happened last offseason. The Dodgers, who are known to do whatever they need to do to get a big player, did nothing. They weren't even in the conversation for any of the four big shortstops, Judge or a pitcher. They took a year off of major spending in preparation for Ohtani. 

It just feels like it's going to happen. It'd be quite the move. 


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