MLB executive says Shohei Ohtani will prioritize two key factors when choosing next team

Los Angeles Angels star Shohei Ohtani is poised to become one of the most coveted free agents available in MLB history next winter. As teams already starting preparing to make a run at him, there is already some idea about what he is seeking in a new home.

Ohtani, the 2021 AL MVP, took part in free agency once before. After finishing his career in Japan, he fielded offers from numerous teams during the 2017 offseason. Despite receiving more lucrative offers from other clubs, the two-way phenom chose to sign with the Angels.

Related: New York Mets expected to pursue Shohei Ohtani next winter

Despite a long list of personal accomplishments since he made his MLB debut, the Angels haven’t posted a winning record with Ohtani on their roster. For a player who prioritized being in a good atmosphere with a competitive ballclub, the Angels’ eight-year playoff drought is one of the biggest reasons why they’re expected to lose Ohtani next winter.

  • Shohei Ohtani stats 2022 (hitting): .273/.356/.519, 34 home runs, 95 RBI, 142 wRC+

While evaluating interested suitors is the last thing on the 28-year-old’s might before MLB spring training begins, some around the league seem to have an early idea about what the perennial All-Star selection will prioritize when he considers his options.

Related: Shohei Ohtani likely to leave Los Angeles Angels

An MLB executive told Jon Heyman of the New York Post that Ohtani values comfort more than money. Furthermore, it’s believed that he would prefer to sign with a team on the West Coast next winter.

Before signing with the Angels in 2017, reports indicated that Ohtani had a preference for smaller market teams and he wanted to play on the West Coast. The Angels became a perfect fit, allowing him to be a co-star to Mike Trout while playing for a team that received less of a spotlight than the New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox or New York Mets.

Related: MLB agents expect next Shohei Ohtani contract to eclipse $500 million

However, it’s also been made clear that Ohtani wants to win. Following owner Arte Moreno’s decision not to sell the team, there is little belief that the franchise will spend the money necessary to compete for a World Series.

If the Angels are off the table and Ohtani’s preferences remain the same, a team like the Seattle Mariners stands out as a potential landing spot. Seattle boasts one of the largest Japanese-American populations in the United States and Ohtani could be part of a core that already includes All-Stars like Julio Rodriguez, Teoscar Hernandez, Luis Castillo and Robbie Ray.

While the Los Angeles Dodgers could provide Ohtani with the best shot at winning a World Series on the West Coast, it would require Ohtani to put himself on a bigger stage with more attention. If comfort is a major factor dictating where he signs, the Dodgers, Yankees and Mets could fall behind in their pursuit regardless of whatever contract they offer.

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