Japanese star Shohei Ohtani is on the wish list of all MLB teams in free agency, although not all of them are in a position to offer him a contract in line with his quality and the projection of becoming a Major League Baseball legend.
Because of his quality and his two-way abilities, it goes without saying that Ohtani is the most highly-priced free agent, despite the fact that he will not pitch in the 2024 season as he is in the process of recovering from a torn collateral ligament in his elbow, which caused him discomfort while pitching.
With this circumstance Ohtani’s role next season will be as a designated hitter, and will remain so until he is fully recovered ahead of a return to the mound.
“People familiar with Ohtani’s thinking believe he could be open to a short-term deal with an extremely high average annual value,” ESPN’s Alden Gonzalez reports.
Ohtani targets historic MLB contract
The move to accept a bridge contract would allow Ohtani to return for the 2024-2025 offseason as a free agent again and be in a position to negotiate the long-term, $500 million-plus contract he is expected to sign.
That’s because some of his current suitors may be hesitant to shell out a large amount, although the quality of the Japanese player would be well worth waiting a season to have him healthy on the mound for a long time.
Even so, having him on the team with several at-bats would be enough to increase attendance at games and jersey sales.
The current annual salary record is shared by pitchers Justin Verlander of the Houston Astros and Max Scherzer of the Texas Rangers, and if Ohtani were to sign for a season he should far surpass that mark.