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Ohtani, A’s, and Expansion Headline MLB’s Biggest Questions

  • Shohei Ohtani could leave the Angels and become baseball's first $500 million player.
  • The A's and Rays are both potentially looking for new homes.
Los Angeles Angels designated hitter Shohei Ohtani
Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

As we enter the 2023 season, the baseball world faces some major questions.

Where will Ohtani play next year?

After lighting up the World Baseball Classic, Shohei Ohtani — the newly crowned highest earner in MLB — is the envy of every team in MLB. The Japanese two-way phenom will make $30 million this season from his record-setting arbitration deal and is becoming increasingly likely to be baseball’s first $500 million player.

Ohtani has prioritized winning, and his Angels haven’t been able to get him to the postseason even once. Should he hit the open market, the New York Yankees and Mets, San Diego Padres, Los Angeles Dodgers, San Francisco Giants, Boston Red Sox, Chicago Cubs, and Philadelphia Phillies are all likely to check in.

Where will the A’s and Rays play next year?

The A’s lease expires after the 2024 season, and they will soon have to start building a new ballpark to be ready for 2025. The team seems to be leaning toward staying in Oakland if they can get an acceptable deal from the city and develop a $12 billion stadium and surrounding neighborhood by the waterfront — but Las Vegas is an appealing Plan B.

As for the Rays, all signs point toward staying in St. Petersburg, though the team still has to hammer out a deal with the city.

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Where will MLB expand?

MLB has signaled that it will add two new teams once the A’s and Rays’ stadium situations are settled. The guess here is that the league is headed for Las Vegas and Nashville, where a group including retired MLB pitcher Dave Stewart is working toward an expansion team.

Should the A’s move to Las Vegas, any number of cities could bid for a franchise, with Charlotte, Portland, San Antonio, and Mexico City often mentioned.

The question of if/when the Washington Nationals would be sold was apparently answered Wednesday, as the process is reportedly being put on hold through the 2023 season due to a dispute between the franchise and regional sports network MASN.

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