The sweepstakes for Ohtani came down to the Blue Jays and Dodgers.
The Mets had an interest in Ohtani, and SNY's Andy Martino reported that "it never got serious between" the club and the free agent. Martino added that if there was any indication that Ohtani was open to coming to New York, the Mets would have pursued him aggressively, but they never did.
With the Dodgers signing Ohtani both the Yankees and Mets are "pleased to be less worried" about Los Angeles' pursuit of Yoshinobu Yamamoto, the top free-agent pitcher on the market, according to Martino.
However, according to multiple reports, Ohtani's deal with the Dodgers includes an “unprecedented” level of deferrals with some indications it is the majority of his salary. The deferrals are designed to ease the club’s luxury-tax hit and cash flow burdens to give the team the flexibility to build around Ohtani. The deferrals were reportedly Ohtani's idea.
After playing six seasons with the Los Angeles Angels to start his MLB career, the 29-year-old entered true free agency for the first time and was courted by many teams.
A two-time unanimous MVP (2021, 2023), Ohtani has 171 career home runs and a .922 OPS to go along with a .274/.366/.556 slashline. On the mound, the right-hander has a 3.01 ERA and 1.08 WHIP with 608 strikeouts in 481.2 innings over 86 starts.
This past season, the Japanese star had a 3.14 ERA in 23 starts to go along with 44 home runs, 95 RBI and an MLB-leading 1.066 OPS in 135 games.
His season was cut short in mid-September after landing on the IL with an oblique injury. Before that, the three-time All-Star injured his elbow in late-August, which ended his season on the mound.
Shortly after being shut down last season, Ohtani had a second Tommy-John-like procedure done on his elbow. While he is expected to be able to hit by Opening Day of 2024, he won’t be able to pitch until 2025.
In his six seasons in Los Angeles, Ohtani never made it to the postseason. In fact, the Angels went a combined 401-469 with Ohtani on the roster, never once finishing above .500.