It finally happened. The Dodgers got their coveted prize on Saturday, signing Shohei Ohtani to a record breaking 10-year deal worth $700 million, the largest contract in North American sports history. The question now is what do the Dodgers do from here?
Even though Ohtani will be a Dodger, he will be recovering from his second Tommy John surgery since arriving in the United States, leaving the Dodgers’ rotation depleted still, even with the return of former All Star Walker Buehler.
Fabian Ardaya of The Athletic examines which moves the Dodgers could make following the move for Ohtani, including potential trades involving either Tampa Bay Rays right hander Tyler Glasnow and White Sox right hander Dylan Cease.
“Rays right-hander Tyler Glasnow has emerged as a prominent Dodgers trade target over the last week, according to multiple people familiar with the situation... Another option, one that would bring security beyond 2024 (when Dodgers right-hander Walker Buehler hits the open market), is White Sox right-hander Dylan Cease. The Dodgers and White Sox have been in discussions on a possible Cease deal throughout the offseason and dating back to this past summer’s deadline, with the White Sox appearing willing to move several pieces off the big-league roster.”
Glasnow missed significant time in 2021-22 due to Tommy John surgery, and missed the first two months of 2023 with a left oblique strain, limiting him to just 37 starts over the past three seasons. When active, he has been a very effective arm for Tampa Bay, posting a combined 15-9 record with a 3.10 ERA, 2.86 FIP, 295 strikeouts in 214⅔ innings, and a 132 ERA+ since 2021.
Cease had a down season from his near Cy Young award winning 2022 campaign, but still showed a tremendous ability to strike hitters out and limit the long ball, resulting in a 10.9 strikeouts-per-nine-innings and a solid 3.72 FIP.
Jack Harris of the Los Angeles Times breaks down Ohtani’s contract, noting how the deferred payments will help the Dodgers remain active in the free agency and trade markets, while also bringing the team more revenue from advertising, sponsorships, and jersey sales from Ohtani.
“If Ohtani had no deferrals and made a full $70 million next year, the Dodgers’ actual payroll for 2024 would’ve risen to about $210 million, already just $12 million shy of last year’s total. Under the new deal, every dollar the Dodgers save now — and instead pay out to Ohtani in the distant future — is one the team can reallocate toward new acquisitions.”
Rowan Kavner of FOX Sports gives his take on which moves the Dodgers should make after Ohtani’s signing.
“That leaves little obvious playing time for 24-year-old Miguel Vargas, who did not hit the way the Dodgers expected in his debut season but offers plenty of offensive upside, and 26-year-old Michael Busch, who Friedman said earlier this month is clearly a major-league player. With those two, plus a litany of talented arms throughout the system, the Dodgers could put together as strong a package as any team to acquire pitching help.”
Ben Lindbergh of The Ringer analyzes how Ohtani’s contract will shift the landscape of how contracts will be issued in the future.
“Because the Dodgers won’t have as significant a CBT penalty as they would with a non-deferred deal, and because they won’t have to immediately pay Ohtani $70 million, they can still spend on other players, which is why Ohtani supposedly suggested this salary structure. Ohtani can brag about making more than Messi—or he could, if he were the type to brag—but his presence won’t preclude the Dodgers from having the means to upgrade the rest of the roster.”
Jonathan Lansner of the Orange County Register wrote a column back in June for why Shohei Ohtani was worth a contract of $700 million. His biggest arguments for why were due to how he instantly attracts fans on a global scale and how his prowess on both sides of the field will outweigh his monetary value.
“This unicorn of a player gets two jobs done with one roster spot. In baseball, where teams have limited rosters, his dual-threat status can be a colossal tactical advantage. Plus, there’s his giant marketing value, a global star expanded by his Japanese roots... Yah, ballplayers get wage inflation, too! Add in that pricing factor and the spreadsheet says Ohtani’s worth $701 million over 10 years. That’s $70 million per season.”