Angels superstar Shohei Ohtani is heading into his sixth season with L.A. and his last season before free agency. There were rumors earlier this offseason that general manager Perry Minasian might look to trade Ohtani rather than risk losing him for nothing after 2023, but reports are that they don't intend to move him and want to keep him with the team after his current contract expires.
A Dodgers reports was on local radio last week, though, and he told an interesting tale based on a conversation with one of Ohtani's teammates in Japan.
“Chris Martin, the former Dodger reliever ... was Ohtani’s teammate in Japan. And he told me he believes Ohtani has mapped out his entire career — was mapping it out in Japan. So he believes that Ohtani already knows which team he wants to sign with when he becomes a free agent, and none if this will have bearing on it.”
This is an interesting take from Martin. When Ohtani came to MLB before 2018, he seriously considered seven teams before signing with the Angels. If Martin is to be believed, though, we might have to put either "seriously" or "considered" in quotes. It seems that perhaps Ohtani had predetermined to sign with the Angels, and he already knows where he's going to play next.
Of course, it's also possible that Ohtani's plan had some flexibility on his original team. Since he was subject to the posting system in 2017, Shohei wasn't able to really capitalize on his free agency. Maybe the plan was "play somewhere for six years and then sign with the [insert name of team he decided on years ago here]."
Let's be honest, it seems like maybe someone's either telling tales or misunderstood something along the way. Ohtani was 23 years old and had never played for an MLB organization when he came over to MLB. Is it really rational to think he had mapped out all the MLB franchises he wanted to play for while he was still in NPB?
This is an interesting bit of intrigue, but it doesn't seem very realistic.