Shohei Ohtani watch is on. Not Ohtani’s home runs or strikeouts or any of his magnificent numbers from the field. Nothing like that. It’s all about how much his next contract will be worth. Ohtani is among a group of players going into their final season before they are eligible for free agency. There is still time for signatures and press conferences before opening day, but history shows a new contract becomes less likely once the real games begin. The list of impending free agents also includes Aaron Nola, Matt Chapman, Teoscar Hernández, Ian Happ and Julio Urías.
Texas Rangers starting pitcher Jacob deGrom delivers during the first inning of a spring training baseball game against the Seattle Mariners, Sunday, March 19, 2023, in Surprise, Ariz. The ace-righthander, who signed a five-year, $185 million contract with the Rangers in the offseason, will face Philadelphia's Aaron Nola when the 2023 Major League Baseball season opens next Thursday.