The MLB offseason market appears to largely be in a holding pattern. And there's a clear reason for that.
Shohei Ohtani is the biggest name available. He's the biggest name ever to hit the open market. And for the most part, all of baseball's big spenders are involved, with only a handful (like the Mets, Yankees and Rangers) currently believed to be out of the running.
Those top teams are likely going to wait to make any other moves this offseason until Ohtani makes his decision. Since he's expected to secure the largest contract in MLB history, the payroll will be drastically impacted with whichever team he signs. And the teams expecting to spend potentially $50-plus million per year on Ohtani will all of a sudden have that money available to spend on other names.
Until a decision is made, everyone is asking the same question: Where will Shohei Ohtani play in 2024? Few know what the answer will be, particularly given the absence of leaks out of Ohtani's camp.
Here's a look at what oddsmakers are saying about where Ohtani could sign.
Where will Shohei Ohtani play next year?
bet365 has reportedly placed odds on Ohtani's destinations, starting with the clear favorite in the Dodgers, as of Dec. 4 per Covers:
There have been six teams that have been linked to Ohtani the most since the start of the winter meetings: the Dodgers, Blue Jays, Cubs, Giants, Braves and Angels. The Braves did not appear on the list of odds, while the Mariners have vaulted all the way up to fourth, ahead of the Giants and behind only the Dodgers, Blue Jays and Cubs.
ESPN's Jeff Passan reported earlier that the Mets, Rangers and Red Sox had all bowed out of the Ohtani sweepstakes, and many have expected the Yankees to be largely out of the running as well.
Shohei Ohtani next team best bets
Los Angeles has remained steadfast in its commitment to trying to bring Ohtani back. And the Angels certainly have the money to make it happen.
But more important is that Ohtani knows the situation he'd be returning to. ESPN's Buster Olney reported the Angels are believed, by at least one agent, to be the most likely destination because they'll allow him the autonomy to do what he feels he needs to do without question.
Of course, Ohtani will also have to believe the Angels can make things different in the next few years. Los Angeles has paired Mike Trout with Ohtani for the past six years, and has no winning records to show for it.
Many have counted out the Angels. But at +1400 odds, that's decent value to get for him to return to his old team.
Blue Jays, +275
There's not exactly great odds on Toronto winning the Ohtani sweepstakes. But at plus odds for a team that quickly feels like it's emerging as a true, down-to-the-wire contender, that's tough to beat.
The Blue Jays have been making a major push for the star, looking to add him to a lineup that already features Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Bo Bichette and George Springer. Toronto has come up short in the wild-card round in back-to-back years, but it's clearly a team on the cusp of being a legitimate World Series contender.
For now, Toronto has some payroll flexibility. Guerrero and Bichette are still on rookie contracts. Signing Ohtani would likely mean parting with one or both in the coming years, but few teams can match that core at least over the next few seasons, which should be enticing to Ohtani who is six years into his career without a playoff appearance.
No one really knows how the Ohtani sweepstakes is going to end. But given how much the Blue Jays have pushed and how often their name has come up, getting Toronto at +275 feels like solid odds.