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Ask MLB The Show 23: Where Should Shohei Ohtani Sign in Free Agency?

MLB The Show 23

Ask MLB The Show 23: Where Should Shohei Ohtani Sign in Free Agency?

Now that we’ve reached MLB free agency, many teams are likely readying or already busy making their best pitch to land the man who’s unanimously been called the biggest prize available for months now: Shohei Ohtani.

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The two-time league MVP and two-way player is prepared to be a very rich man one way or another, but he’ll probably also want to keep in mind where he might have the best chance at winning a championship. Without the ability to definitively look into the future, the next best thing just might be using MLB The Show 23 to determine which of the teams believed by prognosticators to be among the favorites to nab Ohtani will have him making the biggest impact in the future. Since there’s no way within MLB The Show 23 to recreate the injury Ohtani suffered that will keep him from pitching next season, we will look ahead to 2025 instead to see how much of an impact he could make for a team when he’s scheduled to return to contributing with both his bat and his arm.

Here’s a breakdown of how MLB The Show 23 believes Ohtani and the rest of the squad would fare in 2025 on each of the teams projected to have the best shot at landing the superstar.

The Deal

In order to entice Ohtani to sign with any team, the magic numbers in MLB The Show 23 appear to be 11 years and $385 million.

Los Angeles Dodgers

Team Record: 110-52 (1st in division, 1st in National League)
Ohtani Stats: .257 AVG, .353 OBP, .560 SLG, .913 OPS, 45 HRs, 129 RBIs, 15 SBs
11-7, 3.75 ERA, 1.38 WHIP, 232 Ks

Analysis: It’s hardly surprising to find that adding Ohtani to an already stacked Dodgers team translates to a lot of wins, with their 110 victories easily good for tops in the National League. Ohtani’s .257 average is a little pedestrian but his power numbers and run production are anything but. His 45 home runs and 129 RBI’s are second in both categories to only Ronald Acuna (who winds up with 49 and 132 respectively). Ohtani has solid if not spectacular numbers as a starting pitcher, earning a win in just 11 of those 110 wins by the team.

The bigger they are the harder they fall proves to be an apt adage for the season though when the Padres defeat the Dodgers in five games in the NLDS. Ohtani’s on the hill for a 5-4 Game 1 win and the Dodgers turn to him again in the deciding 5th game. He pitches 8 innings and a third of 1-run ball and leaves with the game tied 1-1 before a complete bullpen collapse ends in a 9-1 rout. For the series, Ohtani contributes at the plate with a .250 average that nearly matches his regular season output to go with 1 home run and 3 RBIs in the series.

Toronto Blue Jays

Team Record: 93-69 (1st in division, 2nd in American League)
Ohtani Stats: .286 AVG, .383 OBP, .598 SLG, .981 OPS, 43 HRs. 117 RBI, 23 SBs
16-8, 3.35 ERA, 1.22 WHIP, 274 Ks

Analysis: Ohtani proves to be the missing piece the Blue Jays needed to climb to the top of a competitive AL East. He leads the league with 117 RBIs and his 43 home runs is third in the majors to ex-teammate Mike Trout (57) and Yordan Alvarez (46). On the mound, Ohtani is just one part of a stellar rotation in which both Chris Bassitt (3.05) and Kevin Gausman (3.14) manage to post even better ERAs than Ohtani’s impressive 3.35.

But all three of these pitchers falter in the ALDS and Ohtani can’t cure the Blue Jays’ postseason woes when they’re stunningly swept by the Cleveland Guardians. Ohtani yields 3 runs in 5 innings of work in a Game 1 start that the Jays proceed to lose 6-4. To his credit, he does post a 1.179 OPS at the plate in the three games with 1 home run and 5 RBIs, but it’s not enough to get the Jays over the hump.

Chicago Cubs

Team Record: 92-70 (1st in division, 3rd in National League)
Ohtani Stats: .291 AVG, .377 OBP, .601 SLG, .978 OPS, 41 HRs, 109 RBIs, 20 SBs
14-6, 4.56 ERA, 1.49 WHIP, 238 Ks

Analysis: Cubs’ fans will be encouraged to learn that acquiring Ohtani provides the team with the necessary jolt to ascend all the way back to the top of the NL Central standings. His offensive production is everything the team could possibly imagine in their wildest dreams, including a final tally of 41 homers that has him second to Matt Olson within the majors. Ohtani would likely be right near the top of the RBI leaders as well if it weren’t for a trio of Braves (Olson, Austin Riley, and Ozzie Albies) grabbing the top 3 spots. He does however end up leading the league in slugging percentage and is third in OPS. Despite winning an impressive 14 games for the Cubs, the rest of Ohtani’s pitching stats aren’t really all that special in Chicago, especially his disappointing 4.56 ERA.

After defeating the Giants in an NL Wild Card series, the Cubs are forced to face the formidable Braves lineup that eliminates them in a series that goes the distance. Ohtani doesn’t hit a home run in the playoffs, but his .320 average and 4 RBIs amount to a valuable contribution. The same goes for his 2-0 record and 2.57 ERA in his two pitching starts.

San Francisco Giants

Team Record: 84-78 (2nd in division, 4th in NL)
Ohtani Stats: .302 AVG, .392 OBP, .589 SLG, .981 OPS, 35 HRs, 111 RBIs, 11 SBs
19-7, 3.20 ERA, 1.32 WHIP, 206 Ks

Analysis: While the Giants have a record that’s good enough to make the playoffs as a Wild Card team, they’re still stuck looking up at the Dodgers in the standings at season’s end. This clearly doesn’t have much to do with Ohtani underperforming since he hits over .300 with 35 home runs and 111 RBIs. The superstar may shine even brighter on the mound than at the plate though in San Francisco, where he comes up just one victory short of being a 20-game winner and finishes the season with a 3.20 ERA.

A victory over the Brewers in the Wild Card round results in a showdown with the pesky Braves in the NLDS, which ends with the Giants being unceremoniously swept. Ohtani’s 2 home runs and 5 RBIs in the playoffs lead the team, but a 4.15 ERA in his two starts isn’t good enough to land him a single postseason win after the 19 in the regular season.

Boston Red Sox

Team Record: 91-71 (2nd in division, 4th in AL)
Ohtani Stats: .292 AVG, .370 OBP, .556 SLG, .926 OPS, 36 HRs, 120 RBIs, 20 SBs
13-4, 4.05 ERA, 1.31 WHIP, 224 K’s

Analysis: The Red Sox are looking for a quick fix to get them out of the AL East basement and, as you might expect, bringing in Ohtani is one way to make that happen. This scenario actually envisions a paradigm shift within the division that has four teams emerging to the playoffs, yet somehow the Orioles limping to a 71-91 record. The short porch at Fenway serves Ohtani well, resulting in 36 homers, 120 RBIs and a league-leading 47 doubles. The ballpark has the opposite effect when Ohtani is pitching though and his 13 wins help to mask struggles that are evident in the mediocre 4.05 ERA and the team-high 31 home runs allowed.

The battle for the AL East extends into the playoffs, where the Red Sox start out by sweeping the Yankees in the Wild Card round before taking out the division-winning Rays in 5 games. A matchup with the Houston Astros in the ALCS initially appears promising, but the Red Sox blow a 3-2 series lead by getting blown out 11-3 and 17-5 in Games 6 and 7. Ohtani wasn’t part of either of either of those two disasters though, boasting a 1.85 ERA and 3-0 record in his four postseason starts. Unfortunately, he isn’t quite as effective at the plate in the postseason with 4 home runs and 6 RBIs but just a .212 average.

So Where Should Ohtani Sign?

It’s likely that Ohtani is weighing a number of factors when considering where he wants to sign this offseason, so you can expect that much of his decision will depend on where his priorities lie. The constants in all of the options we explored here are that he will bring the desired offensive firepower to whichever team is lucky enough to win his services and that he will help carry that team to the playoffs. Whether it’s keeping an already elite team on top or helping to a franchise get back to the postseason after a drought, the simulations show that Ohtani has what it takes to get any of these teams into the tournament.

On the other hand, another constant is that none of the teams we looked at here ended up winning the World Series, or at least not in any of our 2025 simulations. If Ohtani wants to stay in California, it seems that he’d be better off choosing the Los Angeles Dodgers rather than the San Francisco Giants, assuming that winning a championship is near the top of his wishlist. The 110 wins compiled by Ohtani’s Dodgers were the most of any of the teams that were part of this experiment. It’s the Red Sox though who look as if they could surprisingly offer Ohtani the best chance at going deep into the playoffs since they were able to take the Astros the distance in the ALCS in that simulation.

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