Skip to main content

4 best Shohei Ohtani landing spots in MLB free agency, including San Francisco Giants

Shohei Ohtani was arguably the most coveted international free agent ever when he came over from Japan in 2018. With MLB free agency poised to big, the face of baseball is now poised to become one of the most sought-after free agents ever.

Keep in mind that teams already know elbow surgery will prevent Ohtani from pitching in 2024. It doesn’t matter. He’s one of the best hitters in baseball and he’s dangerous on the basepaths. More importantly for franchises seeking to maximize revenue, Ohtani generates money like no other player in MLB.

Related: Best baseball players of all time

Let’s dive into the top Shohei Ohtani free-agent destinations this winter.

San Francisco Giants

MLB: San Francisco Giants at Los Angeles Angels
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The San Francisco Giants have tried to make things work with platoons for several years now and it hasn’t worked. While Farhan Zaidi found success with it in Los Angeles, that was also because the Dodgers’ lineup had firepower around it. As of right now, the Giants don’t.

  • Shohei Ohtani hitting stats (2022-’23): .287/.383/.581, 160 wRC+, .963 OPS, 78 home runs, 190 RBIs, 192 runs scored in 1,265 plate appearances

It’s worth noting just how bad the Giants’ lineup in 2023 was. From July 1 – Oct. 1, San Francisco scored the fewest runs (278) in the majors, with its hitters combining for a .218/.297/.353 slash line across 2,939 plate appearances.

Signing Ohtani won’t fix everything, San Francisco will still need to do a lot more to improve the lineup. However, Ohtani’s presence will take a lot of pressure off the Giants’ hitters and it will also boost attendance (17th in average attendance last year). Those two factors alone should be worth hundreds of millions of dollars to San Francisco.

Seattle Mariners

MLB: Seattle Mariners at Los Angeles Angels
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

The Seattle Mariners were firmly in the running to sign Shohei Ohtani when he came over from Japan. Fast forward to MLB free agency today and there are few better fits than Ohtani in a Mariners’ uniform as a co-star in Seattle alongside Julio Rodriguez.

  • Shohei Ohtani career stats: 171 home runs, 437 RBI, .274/.366/.556, .922 OPS

Related: Fastest MLB players

Remember, one of the reasons Ohtani originally signed with the Los Angeles Angels was to be on a team where he could share the spotlight. In Seattle, Ohtani would be a perennial MVP candidate alongside Rodriguez, forming one of the best lineup tandems in the majors.

There’s another reason to like Ohtani’s fit with Seattle. The Mariners’ designated hitters ranked 25th in slugging (.379) and 23rd in wRC+ (92) during the regular season. Slide Ohtani into that spot and his impact likely makes the difference for a team that missed the MLB postseason by a single game.

Los Angeles Dodgers

MLB: All Star Game-National League at American League
Stephen Brashear-USA TODAY Sports

If Ohtani wants to stay on the West Coast and winning is his top priority, there’s no better fit than the Los Angeles Dodgers. While he’s tried to stay away from the spotlight since debuting in the majors, the Dodgers are everything else he could ask for.

  • Los Angeles Dodgers hitting stats 2023: .257/.340/.455, 906 runs scored

Keep in mind that Los Angeles already restructured its payroll in 2023 so they could be better positioned to add Ohtani to the payroll this winter. Furthermore, Los Angeles is one of a small number of teams who can offer Ohtani the ability to not be the focal point of attention, with Mookie Betts and Freddie Freeman both comfortable sharing the spotlight.

Related: MLB insider sheds light on what Shohei Ohtani wants in free agency

While Ohtani’s elbow surgery will prevent him from taking the mound in 2024, his addition would open up other possibilities. The Dodgers could slide Ohtani into the designated hitter spot and then shop Austin Barnes and Max Muncy around this winter for starting pitching.

Texas Rangers

MLB: Los Angeles Angels at Texas Rangers
Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

The Texas Rangers already have a few front-line starters on their roster who are either recovering from elbow surgery or have durability risks. In that regard, signing Ohtani might not seem like the best idea. However, Rangers’ ownership has also demonstrated its willing to spend and the reigning World Series champions would be even more popular if they added Ohtani to the mix.

  • Shohei Ohtani stats 2023: .304/.412/.654, 1.066 OPS, 44 home runs, 95 RBI

Texas had an outstanding lineup in 2023, one that carried them to a championship in October. Yet, it’s undeniable that there is still more room to improve it. After all, Texas only ranked 11th in wRC+ (116) and was 12th in OPS (.787) by its designated hitters last season. While signing Ohtani would mean adding one of the largest salaries in MLB to an already massive payroll, Max Scherzer’s contract is off the books in 2025.

Mentioned in this article:

More About: