UPDATE: Welp, shows you what I know. The Yankees have signed Carter.
9:29 AM: Ken Rosenthal reports that the Dodgers checked in on free agent slugger Chris Carter. ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reports that the Yankees are “keeping tabs” on him as well.
The Dodgers report seems odd given that they have Adrian Gonzalez, the NL has no DH, Carter has not played the outfield on anything approaching a regular basis for years and, even when he did, he wasn’t good at it. Add on the fact that the Dodgers are already over the luxury tax threshold, meaning that they’d pay a 50% tax on his salary, and their interest in Carter makes even less sense.
The Yankees are likewise an odd potential destination for Carter. The luxury tax considerations are the same. They signed Matt Holliday to be their DH. Their first base situation is devoted to the future, with Greg Bird and/or Tyler Austin covering it. As Crasnick notes, Carter could be insurance, but the value of such insurance to a team is likely far less than what Carter would agree to sign for.
It’s getting close to spring training and Carter, the reigning NL home run champ, is unemployed. I suspect that, rather than serious interest in him on the part of the Dodgers and Yankees, this is an instance in which his agent, Dave Stewart, is attempting to create the appearance of teams having interest in him.
ANAHEIM, Calif. — Shohei Ohtani agreed to a $30 million deal with the Los Angeles Angels for the 2023 season in the two-way superstar’s final year of arbitration eligibility before free agency.
The Angels announced the deal, avoiding a potentially complicated arbitration case with the 2021 AL MVP.
Ohtani’s deal is fully guaranteed, with no other provisions. The contract is the largest ever given to an arbitration-eligible player, surpassing the $27 million given to Mookie Betts by the Boston Red Sox in January 2020, a month before he was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Ohtani is having another incredible season at the plate and on the mound for the Angels, regularly accomplishing feats that haven’t occurred in the major leagues since Babe Ruth’s heyday. He is a strong contender for the AL MVP award again alongside the Yankees’ Aaron Judge, who has tied the AL home run record and is closing in on the batting Triple Crown.
Ohtani is batting .276 with 34 homers, 94 RBIs and a .888 OPS as the Halos’ designated hitter. He is 15-8 with a 2.35 ERA and 213 strikeouts as their ace on the mound, and opponents are batting only .207 against him.
The 28-year-old Ohtani still will be a free agent after the 2023 season, and his future could be tied to the immediate fortunes of the Angels, who will complete their seventh consecutive losing season next week. The Angels didn’t trade Ohtani at the deadline despite being out of the playoff race again, and Ohtani is wildly popular among the club’s fans.
Ohtani repeatedly has said winning will be an important factor in choosing his home beyond 2023, and Angels owner Arte Moreno is currently exploring a sale of the team.
Moreno’s leadership has been widely criticized during the Angels’ mostly miserable run of play since 2009, and a fresh start with deep-pocketed new owners could be the best chance to persuade Ohtani to stay with the franchise he joined in 2018 from Japan. Ohtani immediately won the AL Rookie of the Year award, and he rounded into unique form last season after recovering fully from Tommy John surgery.