SEATTLE (KTTV) - Where will Shohei Ohtani go?
That's the big question surrounding the 2-way sensation who is arguably MLB's biggest star. The Los Angeles Angels will enter the second half with a 45-46 record, putting them in danger of possibly missing the postseason once again.
It has been well documented heading into the 2023 MLB season that winning is a top priority for Ohtani. In an interview with the Associated Press following the 2022 regular season where the Halos finished the season with a disappointing 73-89 record, the former American League MVP was quoted as saying he had a "negative impression" of the season he had in Anaheim.
"We were not able to play as many good games as we would like, including 14 consecutive losses," Ohtani said in the Oct. 2022 interview with AP.
Heading into the start of this season, the Angels have never the playoffs with both Ohtani and Mike Trout on the team.
To make things extra uncomfortable for the Halos, during Tuesday's MLB All-Star Game, fans broke out a loud "Come to Seattle" chant at T-Mobile Park, where the AL West-rival Mariners play.
And yes, he heard the chants.
"Never experienced anything like that," Ohtani said through translator Ippei Mizuhara.
The M's are hoping to bank on the franchise's history of embracing Japanese superstars – an impressive list that includes former All-Stars Shigetoshi Hasegawa, Hisashi Iwakuma, Yusei Kikuchi, Kazuhiro Sasaki and Ichiro Suzuki – to lure Ohtani from the Halos.
Up the 5 Freeway, the Los Angeles Dodgers are also rumored to be in the Ohtani sweepstakes for the 2023-2024 offseason. Earlier in the season, MLB insider and ESPN's Jeff Passan reported that the Boys in Blue are named among top contenders for the 2023 World Baseball Classic MVP. Passan also mentioned the New York Mets, New York Yankees, San Francisco Giants and the Mariners pushing to sign Ohtani in the following offseason.
Long before the Angels got bit by the injury bug that sidelined Mike Trout, Zach Neto, Logan O'Hoppe and Anthony Rendon this summer, the Angels were favorites in the Vegas odds for Ohtani's 2024 destination.
Back in February, OddsShark.com released Vegas odds for where "the Unicorn" will take his talents for 2024. Below was the list published by the popular sports betting odds site:
- Los Angeles Angels +145
- New York Mets +400
- St. Louis Cardinals +500
- San Francisco Giants +600
- Los Angeles Dodgers +700
Can the Angels pull off a late postseason push or will they be under pressure to deal the international superstar by this summer's trade deadline?
"Only time will tell," Ohtani told MLB Network through Mizuhara during Tuesday's pregame festivities.