ANAHEIM -- In perhaps the most obvious decision of the offseason, two-way sensation Shohei Ohtani declined the Angels’ one-year $20.325 million qualifying offer ahead of Tuesday’s 1 p.m. PT deadline.
The Angels will now receive Draft-pick compensation if Ohtani decides to sign elsewhere as a free agent. But the decision to decline the qualifying offer was an easy one for Ohtani, who is likely to command a record-breaking contract that could be worth more than $500 million.
Ohtani, who is expected to win the AL MVP Award for the second time in three seasons on Thursday, has plenty of suitors in free agency but the Angels are going to whatever they can to try to bring him back. The Angels, though, never reached the postseason during his six years with the club and he could look to sign elsewhere. The Dodgers, Rangers, Braves, Cubs, Mets, Giants and Red Sox have all been reported as suitors recently.
If Ohtani does sign elsewhere, the Angels will receive a Draft pick after either the third or fourth round of the 2024 MLB Draft. The Angels are still waiting to hear from MLB if they finished the season above or below the Competitive Balance Tax (CBT), as they were right at the threshold. They went above it after making their moves at the Trade Deadline but tried to get below it when they placed several veterans on waivers in late August.
Ohtani, 29, is coming off another incredible season that saw him get named an All-Star as both a starting pitcher and a designated hitter for a third straight year. He also recently won the Silver Slugger at DH. But he saw his season cut short due to injury, as he suffered a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow while pitching on Aug. 23 and sustained a season-ending right oblique strain during batting practice on Sept. 4.
But Ohtani still finished with otherworldly numbers, hitting .304/.412/.654 with 44 homers, 26 doubles, eight triples, 20 stolen bases and 95 RBIs in 135 games. And in 23 starts, he went 10-5 with a 3.14 ERA and 167 strikeouts in 132 innings.
Ohtani won’t pitch next season because he underwent surgery to repair his UCL in September, but he’ll be able to serve as DH and he fully expects to return to two-way status in 2025. His elbow injury could cost him in free agency but he’s still expected to sign the largest deal in MLB history.
Ohtani was one of seven players to be extended a qualifying offer, joining Cody Bellinger (Cubs), Matt Chapman (Blue Jays), Sonny Gray (Twins), Josh Hader (Padres), Aaron Nola (Phillies) and Blake Snell (Padres). None of the seven players accepted the qualifying offer, according to MLB.com's Mark Feinsand.