Shohei Ohtani Rumors: Rival Exec Says Angels Star Prioritizes 'Comfort' Over Money

Paul KasabianFeatured Columnist IIFebruary 3, 2023

Los Angeles Angels' Shohei Ohtani pitches against the Oakland Athletics during the first inning of a baseball game in Oakland, Calif., Wednesday, Oct. 5, 2022. (AP Photo/Godofredo A. Vásquez)
AP Photo/Godofredo A. Vásquez

One MLB executive has said that Los Angeles Angels designated hitter/starting pitcher Shohei Ohtani prefers comfort over money as the superstar approaches free agency next offseason.

That's per Jon Heyman of the New York Post, who referenced the remark amid a larger answer in response to a question on whether the Angels have a chance at agreeing to an extension with Ohtani:

"They want to try, and have two things going for them: 1) He's presumed to prefer the West Coast (one rival exec says, 'he's about comfort, more than money'), and 2) They've clearly honored his wish to prove he's the best two-way player ever. However, with no playoff appearances in five years, the likelihood of a quick spring deal is practically nil."

Ohtani is on a one-season, $30 million contract in 2023, his final year of arbitration eligibility before he hits free agency next offseason.

The 28-year-old has been nothing short of spectacular over the past two seasons. In 2021, Ohtani had 46 home runs, 100 RBI and a .965 OPS. He also went 9-2 with a 3.18 ERA and 156 strikeouts in 23 starts.

Ohtani followed that up with 34 home runs, 95 RBI and an .875 OPS. He also enjoyed his best year on the pitching mound, going 15-9 with a 2.33 ERA and 219 strikeouts in 166 frames.

He would have won back-to-back AL MVP awards if not for a record-breaking campaign from New York Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge, who smacked an AL-high 62 homers. Regardless, Ohtani's pitching performance was good enough for fourth in the Cy Young race.

Naturally, Ohtani is about to get paid. Heyman spoke to nine agents on what Ohtani could get, and four of them said $500 million or more, which is what the Angels star reportedly seeks.

Presuming Ohtani doesn't agree to an extension with the Angels, next year's offseason is sure to be one of the most hotly anticipated in league history with the generational talent becoming available.