Shohei Ohtani

Report: Ohtani could sign before Winter Meetings in early December

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Shohei Ohtani could make a free-agency decision on where he wants to play relatively soon.

The two-way superstar is the most highly sought-after free agent this offseason and perhaps of all time. The AL MVP frontrunner is expected to land a contract north of $500 million, even though he will not pitch again until 2025 after undergoing a second Tommy John surgery on Sept. 19.

Ohtani's free agency, as big of a spectacle as it's expected to be, might not last that long. ESPN spoke to multiple MLB general managers who believe Ohtani could sign before the end of the annual winter meetings from Dec. 4-6.

"Shohei Ohtani's highly anticipated free agency might not last that long," ESPN wrote. "A handful of general managers who are expected to be in the market and spoke to ESPN this week were under the impression that Ohtani will choose his next destination relatively quickly, perhaps before the end of the winter meetings, which take place Dec. 4-6 in Nashville, Tennessee."

One industry source told ESPN there's a chance that Ohtani could sign in the next three-plus weeks before the winter meetings even begin.

"Major League Baseball would undoubtedly prefer that Ohtani -- one of the most fascinating free agents in the sport's history -- sign his next contract during those winter meetings, the annual event that brings together executives, agents and managers, drawing a heavy media presence," ESPN added. "But one industry source said he believes it might happen even before then."

The Giants are expected to be one of the major players in the Ohtani sweepstakes but still are believed to be trailing the rival Los Angeles Dodgers as the frontrunners to sign the 29-year-old.

Whether Ohtani shocks the baseball world and signs with San Francisco or another potential suitor over the Dodgers remains to be seen. However, it appears we could have an answer relatively soon.

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