Shohei Ohtani is perhaps the most valuable commodity in baseball. Not only is one of the best hitters and pitchers in the game, but he's also squarely in his prime at age 28. There's never been a player like the 2021 AL MVP in modern baseball, making him one of the most coveted players in the sport.
Unfortunately for the Los Angeles Angels, they haven't been able to maximize Ohtani's talents since his arrival from Japan in 2018. The Angels have had a losing record in all five of his seasons and haven't made the playoffs since 2014. With Ohtani set to hit free agency and command a massive contract after next season, Los Angeles is feeling pressure to trade him for a boatload of prospects to help the team rebuild.
Ohtani has indicated that he's not happy with the Angels' recent performance and would like to play for a contender, which may prompt them to move him this winter rather than risk losing him for nothing next offseason.
1. Boston Red Sox
With glaring holes in the starting rotation and at designated hitter, Ohtani would kill two birds with one stone for the Boston Red Sox. The Red Sox also have tons of money to spend this offseason, so they could conceivably pull off a sign and trade for Ohtani. Chief Baseball Officer Chaim Bloom has spent the past several years building up Boston's farm system and could certainly put together an attractive package for the two-way superstar. Red Sox ownership loves to make a splash, but the key is whether Bloom is willing to be aggressive and part with multiple high-upside prospects.
2. New York Mets
The New York Mets may have several vacancies in their rotation if both Jacob deGrom and Chris Bassitt depart in free agency. Team owner Steve Cohen has also promised to bring a World Series to the Mets at any cost, which he's proven by bringing in numerous high-profile stars. He's clearly not happy about the team going down in the Wild Card Round this year, which will likely spur him to add even more talent this offseason. Cohen is willing to go the extra mile for his team, and landing a player of Ohtani's caliber certainly qualifies.
3. Los Angeles Dodgers
Ohtani was made for Hollywood, and by extension the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Dodgers have an outstanding track record of acquiring stars via trade during Andrew Friedman's tenure, landing Yu Darvish, Manny Machado, Mookie Betts, Trea Turner, Max Scherzer and others. Los Angeles is one of the few teams with the payroll and the prospect capital to acquire Ohtani. The Dodgers may be extra-motivated to do so after falling short of the World Series in each of the past two seasons. From Ohtani's perspective, it also helps that LA is only a short drive from Anaheim.