The Shohei Ohtani giveaway has officially started.
The starting pitcher, who leads the majors in home runs and OPS, is set to hit the free agent market at the end of the season, and his deal will likely break the bank.
Sure, 30 teams want him on their team, but Seattle Mariners fans In fact let him know that In fact I love you.
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As Ohtani dug into the batter’s box for his first at-bat in the 2023 All-Star Game, T-Mobile Park erupted in chants of «Come to Seattle.»
Seattle seems to always be a candidate for any Japanese superstar. Not only is it close to the country (relative to MLB cities further east), but Ichiro Suzuki made the most of his future Hall of Fame career in the Pacific Northwest, so his influence doesn’t need to be written.
Ohtani is making $30 million this season, the highest salary ever for an arbitration-eligible player, surpassing mookie bets$27 million for the 2020 season.
His $24.5 million raise from last season is also the highest ever, and he is speculated to be the first $500 million player; some believe he can even make $600 million.
The 29-year-old has more than lived up to expectations since joining the majors in 2018. Dubbed the «Japanese Babe Ruth» when he arrived, he was named AL Rookie of the Year with a .285 and . 925 OPS while pitching to a 3.31 ERA and striking out 11 batters over nine innings. He became the first player in MLB history to hit at least 20 home runs and strike out at least 60 batters in the same season.
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Ohtani had Tommy John surgery before the 2019 season, preventing him from pitching that year. He suffered another injury in 2020 that limited him to pitching to just 1.2 innings.
But he was the unanimous AL MVP in 2021 with 46 home runs, the third-most in baseball, and 100 RBIs with a .965 OPS. He also posted a 3.18 ERA, which was the eighth-best mark in the American League among pitchers with at least 130 innings pitched.
Last year, his 2.33 ERA was the sixth-best in baseball, while his .875 OPS was the 10th-highest in the majors, proving that the year before was no fluke. If it was not for aaron judgein the run for a Triple Crown while tying Roger Maris for the most home runs in a single season by an AL player, Ohtani would have won MVP again. Last season, he became the first player in MLB history to qualify for batting and ERA titles.
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This season, he is the heavy favorite with his .302 average, 32 home runs and 1.050 OPS offensively, and MLB-leading 3.24 ERA, 11.8 K/9 and 6.0 H/9 on the mound.
With the trade deadline approaching later this month, and Ohtani’s Los Angeles Angels likely to miss the postseason for the ninth straight season, his team certainly has a decision to make as they risk losing perhaps the most talented player ever. of history for nothing. At the same time, trading such a player also seems absurd.