3 Reasons Why LA Dodgers Might Not Sign Shohei Ohtani As His Record-breaking $500M Free Agency Approaches

Published 09/29/2023, 1:30 PM EDT

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It was the early end of the season for Los Angeles Angels star Shohei Ohtani. His team failed to repeat its first-half performance in the second, ending Ohtani’s playoff dream. Given that all this happened amidst the free agency rumors, it presumably also ended his chances of staying with The Angels. Therefore, the voices and activity that gripped the market about his potential new home have come to life. But with multiple destinations, the situation is unclear about his future, and the latest events seem to have complicated this more for him.

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The Japanese star is the most talented player in the modern baseball world, pertaining to his strength while batting and pitching, which makes Ohtani a generational player. As a result, multiples teams are in line to pursue the services of a talented star, whether The New York Mets, The Houston Astros, or The Los Angeles Dodgers. With The Dodgers ticking all the boxes, they look like the perfect team for Ohtani. But will they make up for the $500 million approaching star in his changed role?

Will the Los Angeles Dodgers Sign Shohei Ohtani?

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There is always a great opportunity to have the best of the players on the team. With Shohei Ohtani achieving similar feats, the prospect of The Dodgers making a strategic move to bolster their strength in preparation for a title defense next season becomes increasingly likely.

Moreover, The Dodgers fanbase has also shown their likeness to the player. According to a poll conducted by The Athletic a few months back, the majority of them favored his signing. Now, when the opportunity is there, they would want The Dodgers to make a move and have the universal favorite in the team. But the current situation of Shohei Ohtani to not pitch in the upcoming season changes the situation. Coupled with the following reasons, the move of the NL West champions seems unlikely.

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A Limited Role of a Designated Hitter for the Costly Shohei Ohtani

Since the Los Angeles Angels changed their history for Shohei Ohtani, the world has known him as two-way phenom. But the same changed after he suffered an injury. The 2021 MVP is now a designated hitter and may play in 2024 with the same role. The Dodgers might not sign him due to the implications suggested by a video message from his agent that conveyed a similar sentiment.

Given that they have J.D. Martinez, they can easily extend his contract. The 36-year-old has done well this season, averaging 0.274, 32 HRs, 100 RBIs, and an OPS of 0.901. Moreover, he is on a contract of $10 million a year and an extension would be an easier choice for them than signing Ohtani. Hence, their payroll factor also puts them away from Shohei Ohtani.

A Payroll Dilemma With an Enormous Risk That Dents the Positives

The Los Angeles Dodgers have a payroll of $222 million and stand fifth in the list of the highest spenders. But if they are to sign Shohei Ohtani, they might have to go close or even above $300 million, which is a big hike. It will put them under a lot of pressure. Already done well with a lesser budget, the move can bring doubts.

Moreover, with Ohtani not expected to pitch before 2025, the ROI is likely to decrease. Also, his injury problems add to the negatives, which can deplete the tremendous investments for the next season. Happened already with Carlos Rodon, who had limited game time with The New York Yankees, The Dodgers might not risk signing an injury-prone player.

Injuries Concerns May Stop the Dodgers to Sign Ohtani

There is no doubt about the capabilities of Ohtani. But the skilled player has been injured on many occasions lately. Regular cramping issues have also affected his performance. It was visible in a dip in his hitting which kept him at bay from Aaron Judge’s 62-home run record, which looked set to be broken. Given that he has recently undergone surgery, there are concerns about his current abilities. But even after that, many reasons make him a great addition to The Dodgers or any other team.

Shohei Ohtani: A Perfect Baseball Player Anyone Hardly Can Say No To

Although The Los Angeles Angels star has not been in the best shape lately, there is no doubt about his complete skillet. Moreover, his commitment and dedication to the game make him a perfect addition to any team. The same was visible in his approach during the season. Even after multiple offers on the table, Shohei Ohtani remained focused on the season and played with an injury.

The 30-year-old is expected to return to his best in the upcoming years and could be a great addition to any team. Though he may not pitch before 2025, he can contribute with his bat as a DH in 2024 season. His average of 0.304, with 44 HRs and 95 RBIs at an OPS of 1.066, backs the claim.

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Also, as Martinez is in his later 30s, The Dodgers can have young Ohtani in his replacement. As the World Baseball Classic winner has plenty of years left, his addition would make sense for the team. Plus, signing him on a multi-year contract will help The Dodgers to have a strong core for the upcoming decade. He can pitch from 2025, another positive factor backing the $500 million signing. Also, the Japanese wonder is familiar with the city, which adds to his comfort. He can choose to stay in it with a change in the Jersey.

Top MLB Insider Confirms Dodgers’ Shohei Ohtani Pursuit Despite Devastating Injury Putting His Pitching Career in Doubt

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Given all the factors, the investment makes sense. However, it would be interesting to see if the Los Angeles side considers the above factors or ignores them to make the deal. What do you think about it? Share your thoughts in the comments.

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Written by:

Saurabh Saini

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Saurabh Saini is a senior MLB writer and content analyst for EssentiallySports. Having started as a baseball writer, Saurabh has a sound knowledge of the sport. Even before joining ES, he covered the MLB, NFL, and NHL for his previous organization, SportsKeeda.
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Edited by:

Deepanshi Bajaj

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