Insider Pegs 3-Way Frontrunner Tie In Ohtani Sweepstakes

We'll be hearing plenty about Shohei Ohtani this winter—perhaps the biggest free agent sweepstakes in history. According to MLB Insider Jon Heyman, Ohtani could still hit the $600M mark with a contract, despite having to sit out the pitching side of his two-way abilities for 2024 after elbow surgery. 

Heyman also notes that at this point, there seem to be three teams in a 3-way tie as the frontrunners to land the once (and future) MVP. 

Los Angeles Dodgers

The expected leader in the chase all along, moving to the Dodgers allows Ohtani to stay home in LA, while going to a team that's a legitimate contender every season. 

From the Dodgers' standpoint, they've cleared plenty of salary over the last 12 months to allow them to offer the type of money that Ohtani will be seeking. The only drawback is that the Dodgers are desperately in need of pitching help for 2024, which Ohtani will not be able to provide. Do they spend elsewhere for a couple of prime starters instead? 

San Francisco Giants

Looking just up the coast, the Giants are expected to be all-in, as they are every winter for the top free agent superstar on the market. They haven't been able to land one yet (Aaron Judge and Bryce Harper are two examples), but it could be a preferable destination for Ohtani, who is thought to want to stay out West.

Texas Rangers

A team that has now proven its bona fides as a championship contender, and also its willingness to spend big-time cash to do it, the Rangers, if they're serious about it, are a definite threat to land Ohtani, on equal footing with the Dodgers and Giants.

The New York Mets, Boston Red Sox, Chicago Cubs, and yes, even the incumbent LA Angels are said to be on the periphery of the race right now, according to Heyman.

 Photo: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports