Superstar Money: Why Shohei Ohtani Is The Biggest MLB Free Agent Ever

Darren - November 13, 2023

Superstar Money: Why Shohei Ohtani Is The Biggest MLB Free Agent Ever

Darren - November 13, 2023

Shohei Ohtani is arguably the best Major League Baseball player of his generation and he’s now a free agent. Every team wants him but only one will get him. The stakes are incredibly high because he will demand a record contract, yet he’s worth every dime. Ohtani is a phenomenal, once-in-a-lifetime talent and that’s why he’s so in demand.

Today we’ll look at all of the reasons why he’s arguably the most wanted MLB free agent ever. His list of accolades is incredible and that’s why franchises won’t hesitate to sign him. The Los Angeles Dodgers maintain the strongest links to Ohtani but who knows where the Japanese star will end up?

Fox News

History Breaker

Ohtani is doing things in baseball that players haven’t achieved since the 19th century. No, that’s not a typo because it’s completely true. In June 2023, he became the first player since 1890 to reach base four times, hit more than two homers, and strike out 10 players in one game (via SBNation).


Jack Stivetts achieved the same feat for the now-defunct St. Louis Browns. It’s extraordinary that Ohtani is matching these ancient records and making history. That’s why he’s the most in-demand free agent in the sport and one of the most iconic stars of his generation. It’s frightening to imagine what he’ll do next.


Rookies of the Year

Ohtani has a long history of brilliance. The Japanese superstar is a two-time Rookie of the Year. That may confuse some people as to how that happens but don’t forget that he began in his career in the Pacific League. He won the accolade for the first time because he was excellent for the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters.


Then he finally joined MLB in 2018 and instantly set the sport alight. Ohtani claimed the AL Rookie of the Year award after a season that saw him break the Japanese rookie MLB home run record. This was a sign of great things to come because Ohtani went from strength to strength after this (via USA Today).

Japan Times

Japanese Superstar

One of the benefits of signing Ohtani is that he will bring legions of diehard fans with him. The Sasakawa Sports Foundation discovered that he is the most popular athlete amongst 12 to 21-year-olds in Japan. Remember, baseball is the East Asian nation’s favorite sport (via NPR).

New York Times

Franchises will be desperate to secure the commercial gains that Ohtani offers. He transformed the Angels into an international tourist destination because Japanese fans were desperate to see their superstar in action. Even people who don’t follow baseball love Ohtani and how he represents The Land of the Rising Sun.

NBC News

Historic Achievement Award

Ohtani has already won the Commissioner’s Historic Achievement award. This is an incredible feat because it’s one of the most exclusive awards in MLB. It began in 1998 but only 16 people have received it. He was the first player to receive the prestigious honor since 2014 after a sensational 2021 season.

L.A. Times

Meanwhile, Ohtani also has a Silver Slugger award to his name. The free agent is one of the most electrifying offensive players in the sport on the mound and at the plate. There’s a reason why many people already regard him as the greatest Japanese player in MLB history (via Bleacher Report).


Generational Talent

Make no mistake, Ohtani is a generational talent and that’s why he’s the most-wanted free agent in the sport. His all-around game is astounding because he can do everything well. One stat from the WBC shows how powerful he is. Ohtani recorded the hardest-hit ball of the tournament and the longest home run.


Meanwhile, many people thought that he deserved the AL MVP Award in 2022 instead of Aaron Judge. This is despite the latter breaking Roger Maris’s longstanding home run record. Franchises want Ohtani because they know that he is an elite player, the likes of which we may never see again (via Clutchpoints).


Mental Strength

The Japanese superstar also possesses unbelievable mental strength. It’s easy to forget that he has endured injuries and adversity in his career. 2020 was a frustrating season because an elbow injury kept him off the mound. Meanwhile, he also underwent Tommy John surgery in the past (via Sporting News).

Japan Times

In 2023, he faced the procedure again after damaging his UCL. But fortunately, surgeons were able to find another solution. Furthermore, his ability to motivate himself while playing for the Angels despite their sorry state. Ohtani refused to drop his high standards and continued punching for the stars. That’s why he’s an in-demand free agent right now.

Bleacher Report

Team Loyalty

The Angels could have traded Ohtani earlier but he opted to stay and fight for the outside shot of a postseason space. In the end, his time with the organization finished without a single playoff appearance. It’s a shambles because he is one of the best players of the modern era but the Halos never capitalized.


It’s unfortunate for their long-suffering fanbase because it’s the franchise’s fault that he will probably leave. But nobody can accuse Ohtani of being disloyal because he gave them every chance to improve and to support him. In the end, he walks away with his head held high as an elite free agent (via Sports Illustrated).


All-Star Icon

One of the best ways to examine a Major League athlete’s long-term consistency is by checking their All-Star awards. Ohtani is quickly accumulating plenty. He has three MLB All-Stars while he earned five during his time in Japan. But he also set crazy records during those All-Star games.


One of the craziest is that he earned selection as both a pitcher and a hitter. This was an unbelievable achievement because it was the first time in the showpiece event’s near-century existence. It also proves Ohtani’s dominance in the sport and why every franchise will want this free agent (via ESPN).


Jersey Sales

Popular sports analyst (or some would say talking head) Stephen A. Smith disagrees but the reality is that Ohtani is one of baseball’s biggest stars right now. More people bought his jersey than any other player in MLB in 2022. This made him the first Japanese player ever to outsell his rivals as he showed that he was a market force to be reckoned with.

Spectrum News

This is even more impressive when we consider what Aaron Judge achieved for the more popular Yankees. The Angels aren’t even the biggest franchise in L.A. but Ohtani makes people care. That’s why many MLB organizations won’t blink about handing him a record-breaking contract (via Japan Times).

New York Times

Bonafide MVP

The two-way superstar is a genuine MVP talent as he proved over the past two seasons before he became a free agent. He won the AL MVP award in 2021 after a sensational year. Ohtani became the first player in AL or NL history with 45 home runs, 25 stolen bases, and five triples in a season.


Meanwhile, he was a finalist in 2022 as he pushed Aaron Judge all the way. Some people even thought that Ohtani’s efforts for the Angels were enough to secure him the award for a second time. The point is that any team that gets him won’t believe their luck because he has amazing talent (via

L.A. Times

Guinness World Records

Ohtani has even entered the Guinness Book of Records. He became the first MLB player to achieve more than 100 innings and to record more than 100 strikeouts as a pitcher as well as over 100 RBIs, hits, and runs as a batter in a single season. It’s a ludicrous achievement that’s a testament to his quality.


His second Guinness record saw him become the first player to start the All-Star game as both a pitcher and a designated hitter. That’s why this free agent rises above his compatriots in the sport. Baseball fans are watching a living legend and they dream of him playing for their franchises (via Essentially Sports).

Orange County Register

Marketing Force

We’ve talked about Ohtani’s popularity in Japan and his impressive shirt sales already. But what about his other endorsements? Teams know that Ohtani is a marketing dream because of his clean-cut personality and his brilliant sporting performances. It’s a match made in heaven.

Fox News

He became a free agent in 2023 but boasted an incredible sponsorship portfolio. Forbes estimated that he will earn $35 million in 2023 from endorsements alone. Ohtani enjoys relationships with Hugo Boss, New Balance, Seiko, and Mitsubishi Bank, amongst others.

The Athletic

In His Prime

Ohtani became an official free agent when he turned 29. This was great news for the franchises sniffing around his availability because it means that he is in his prime. Most elite baseballers reach their pinnacle when they’re between 26 and 33. Ohtani is in the middle of this range so he’s at his zenith (via Essentially Sports).


It also means that it’s likely that he will have at least another three great seasons ahead of him. This may not be the case because things don’t always work perfectly. Furthermore, it won’t be cheap to secure his services because he will probably demand a record contract. But he has earned this with his sensational performances.

New York Times

World Baseball Classic

Ohtani reached new levels when Japan won the World Baseball Classic in 2023. The Championship game was one of the most-watched baseball games ever as Japan defeated the USA. It saw Ohtani face his Angels teammate, Mike Trout, on his way to the Tournament MVP award (via The Guardian).


This was massive for a couple of reasons. Firstly, it elevated the WBC to a new level and interested plenty of neutrals around the world. It was also the first time that many MLB fans saw Ohtani deliver a clutch performance in a playoff-style game. He delivered, as he usually does, in an electrifying event.

San Francisco Chronicle

Dual-Threat Force

The main reason why Ohtani is the most exciting free agent of recent times is because of his dual-threat. Baseball fans haven’t seen a player doing what he does since Babe Ruth. But the Japanese star is breaking the legendary icon’s records. Ruth hit 159 home runs in his first 674 games while Ohtani smashed 160.


It’s an astounding statistic that may never be broken. We can’t perfectly compare their careers because they played in very different eras. However, the reality is that Ohtani is doing things that nobody has achieved in the modern game. Franchises will effectively get two elite players for the price of one (via SBNation).