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Shohei Ohtani Rumors: MLB Exec Says Dodgers Contract 'Makes Too Much Sense' in FA

Francisco Rosa

As Shohei Ohtani prepares to become the biggest free agent that professional baseball has ever seen, the short list of teams vying for the Los Angeles Angels' superstar's signature may be smaller than most people think.

And the franchise that is perhaps best situated to get Ohtani is just an hour's drive away from Anaheim, California and Angels Stadium in the Los Angeles Dodgers, according to ESPN's Buster Olney.

Olney spoke with executives around MLB and some of them believe that the fit would be a perfect match for both parties involved.

"It makes too much sense for them," one executive said. "It's a market that responds to stars, and he's the biggest star in the game."

Olney listed the Dodgers as the favorite to land Ohtani, who may be looking at a potential $500 million contract with whatever team he decides to land with. And even as the organization with the fifth-highest payroll in the league, according to Spotrac, Los Angeles has been doing its due diligence in making room for Ohtani's potential arrival.

Los Angeles cut about 15 percent of its payroll this past offseason, according to Olney, which it accomplished by signing more low key free agents and giving them short-term deals like J.D. Martinez (one-year, $10 million).

But the Dodgers aren't the only West Coast power who have high hopes of getting Ohtani in their threads. The San Diego Padres, who are never shy about the throwing around the cash, are also firmly in the running up to this point.

And, of course, geography plays a big role in that as several executives told Olney that they wonder if any teams outside of California even have a chance.

Padres' owner Peter Seidler has been known to dish out a lot of money to high-level free agents in the past, most recently with shortstop Xander Bogaerts (11-years, $280 million). It's wild to think about what he'd be willing to offer to a unique talent like Ohtani.

"Why would anyone think it's going to be different with Ohtani?" one Padres employee asked Olney. "He might not pick us, but [Seidler] is going to make it damn hard for him to turn us down."

Ohtani, 28, is in the midst of another excellent season with the Angels as he's hitting .275/.347/.523 with 12 homers and 33 RBI in 50 games. He also has a 5-1 record as a pitcher with a 3.05 ERA and a WHIP of .898.


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