While contemplating his next move, Shohei Ohtani was honored for his 2023 season on Thursday.
The former Los Angeles Angels star, and current free agent, was named the unanimous American League Most Valuable Player after his dominant two-way season. It's the second time in three seasons that Ohtani has unanimously won AL MVP, making him the first two-time unanimous MVP in MLB history.
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Ohtani, 29, defeated a pair of Texas Rangers infielders -- Corey Seager and Marcus Semien -- to win the award. Seager finished second with 24 second-place votes and 264 points, while Semien came in third with five second-place votes and 216 points. Houston Astros outfielder Kyle Tucker, who finished fifth, received the other second-place vote.
Ohtani earned all 30 first-place votes to become the 33rd player to ever win two or more MVPs. Mike Trout (2014, 2016, 2019) and Bryce Harper (2015, 2021) are the only other active players with multiple MVPs.
The Japanese star had another standout season both at the dish and on the mound in 2023. He led the league with 44 home runs and a 1.066 OPS, while also posting a .304 batting average, 26 doubles, eight triples and 20 stolen bases. As a pitcher, Ohtani went 10-5 with a 3.14 ERA and 167 strikeouts in 23 starts and 132.0 innings.
With the 2023 season officially in the books, attention will turn to free agency. Ohtani is top player available even though he won't pitch in 2024. He suffered a UCL tear and had surgery in September, meaning he'll only be able to serve as a designated hitter next season.
Another MVP only gives Ohtani even more leverage in contract negotiations.