The 2022 MLB offseason has seen some massive contracts doled out to multiple players, but next winter will reportedly see a bank-breaking deal.
Jon Heyman of the New York Post spoke to multiple agents who speculated that Los Angeles Angels two-way phenom Shohei Ohtani will earn a contract that exceeds his teammate Mike Trout's 12-year, $426.5 million deal when he becomes a free agent in 2023. One agent even predicted that Ohtani will be given the first $500 million contract in MLB history.
Heyman noted that Ohtani "will indeed" be seeking over $500 million on his next contract. As the only player in the majors who dominates both as a pitcher and a hitter, Ohtani undoubtedly deserves a historic deal.
The 2021 American League MVP put forth another stellar campaign in 2022, hitting .273/.356/.519 with 34 home runs and 95 RBI while notching a 15-9 record on the mound with a 2.33 ERA, a 1.01 WHIP and 219 strikeouts in 166 innings pitched.
While Ohtani has showcased an unmatched level of on-field brilliance, it hasn't resulted in success for the Angels. Los Angeles went 73-89 last season and missed the playoffs for the eighth consecutive year. Team owner Arte Moreno announced plans to sell the franchise, further igniting speculation that Ohtani will not be returning to the team when he hits the open market.
Per Heyman, Ohtani will be pursued by teams in large markets hoping to contend for a World Series title such as the New York Mets, San Diego Padres and Philadelphia Phillies. In particular, the Los Angeles Dodgers appear to be "working to get below some tax thresholds to set themselves up for a huge winter next year."
Ohtani's next landing spot will surely be a major storyline throughout the 2023 season.