Shohei Ohtani plans to decide where to sign “within the week,” MLB Network reported on Monday as the Winter Meetings began in Nashville, Tenn.
The free agent two-way star is projected to receive a record-setting contract worth more than $500 million with only a handful of teams still considered serious options, per multiple reports.
MLB Network said Monday that the Atlanta Braves are still in the running for Ohtani, contrary to reports that listed the Los Angeles Angels, Los Angeles Dodgers, Chicago Cubs, Toronto Blue Jays and Texas Rangers as finalists.
Signing with the Braves would put the left-handed slugger in the middle of a lineup that features 2023 NL MVP Ronald Acuna and MLB home run leader Matt Olson (54 homers in 2023). Acuna turns 26 this month. Olson is 29 and signed an eight-year contract — through the 2029 season — when he was acquired from the Oakland Athletics in 2022.
Ohtani was a two-time MVP (2021, 2023) with the Angels and an American League MVP runner-up in 2022. He has 124 home runs since the start of the 2021 season and struck out 11.4 batters per nine innings as a starter for the Angels last season.
Ohtani had surgery on his elbow and will not pitch in 2024.
But the three-time All-Star does have “consistent winner” as one of the traits he’s looking for in his next team.
Ohtani did not play in a postseason game in six seasons with the Angels, who signed the Japanese star Dec. 8, 2017.
Ohtani, 23 at the time, narrowed his list of suitors to seven before signing with the Angels. The Mariners, Rangers, Dodgers, Padres, Cubs and Giants were Ohtani’s other finalists before his initial contract was signed.