The 2023 season is over for Los Angeles Angels star Shohei Ohtani.
He was placed on the 10-day injured list with a right oblique strain on Saturday, and hadn’t pitched since August with a torn UCL in his right elbow.
He cleaned out his locker over the weekend and it’s now official: he played his last game of the 2023 campaign.
Ohtani will be a free agent after the season, and contenders (and even some teams without a clear path to contention in 2024) will line up for his services.
The New York Mets, probably the wealthiest team in the league, will be very interested in bringing in Ohtani to the Big Apple, per recent reports.
New York columnist John Harper sees the Mets going heavily after the Japanese superstar.
“On a potential Shohei Ohtani pursuit by the Mets, from @NYNJHarper: ‘If the Japanese superstar is willing, every baseball person I spoke to fully expects that owner Steve Cohen would make the biggest offer, even if Ohtani won’t pitch in 2024 and even though the Mets have indicated they may not be all-in next season after their sell-off at the trade deadline,'” SNY tweeted.
On a potential Shohei Ohtani pursuit by the Mets, from @NYNJHarper:
"If the Japanese superstar is willing, every baseball person I spoke to fully expects that owner Steve Cohen would make the biggest offer, even if Ohtani won’t pitch in 2024 and even though the Mets have… pic.twitter.com/njZnplhlCw
— SNY Mets (@SNY_Mets) September 18, 2023
The Mets, and the other 29 teams in MLB, know that Ohtani will likely require Tommy John surgery eventually because his UCL is torn.
That means he probably won’t pitch in 2024.
However, if he gets the surgery soon, he could return as a hitter at some point next year, probably around mid-season.
This is assuming it will be Tommy John, which is the most likely scenario but it’s not set in stone.
What Harper is trying to say is that it doesn’t matter if or when Ohtani starts playing in 2024: they will want to be the highest bidders anyway.
Ohtani is the leading AL MVP candidate with a .304/.412/.654 line with 44 homers, 95 RBI, and 20 stolen bases as a hitter.
As a pitcher, he had a solid 3.14 ERA and 167 strikeouts in 132 frames.
He is worth every penny.NEXT: Kodai Senga Is Part Of An Elite NL Club