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Dodgers notes: Shohei Ohtani, Joe Kelly, Yankees trade

LA began Monday with 40 players on the roster, and ended Monday with 40 players on the roster

BASEBALL-JPN-US-OHTANI Photo by STR/JIJI Press/AFP via Getty Images

Monday was a busy day in Dodgers land, even before reports came out that a whopping $680 million of Shohei Ohtani’s $700 million contract is deferred.

If you’d like to partial clear your head from talk of competitive balance tax, net present value, unencumbered assets, or the thought that 2043 is a real year, here are some other Dodgers-related stories for your perusal.

First, the Dodgers traded Victor González and Jorbit Vivas to the Yankees, which cleared two spots on the 40-man roster. In return, New York sent minor league shortstop Trey Sweeney to Los Angeles.

One of those two roster spots went to Joe Kelly, whose $8 million contract was finalized on Monday. It’s the 11th consecutive Dodgers free agent contract with one guaranteed year.

It looks like Kelly will wear uniform number 99, with Ohtani taking number 17:

With Mookie Betts transitioning to second base nearly full-time, and with Dave Roberts at the winter meetings characterizing shortstop Gavin Lux as “80-percent baseball player, 20-percent rehab, but I think by 100 percent of a baseball player,” Jay Jaffe and Eric Longenhagen at FanGraphs examined the Dodgers infield and found it lacking defensively:

If their roster remains as it’s currently constituted, the Dodgers are exposing themselves to some disastrous low-end outcomes, where their infield defense is meaningfully bad. They need an external addition to stabilize things.

The Ohtani of it all

On Monday evening, the Dodgers finalized the 10-year deal. Shohei Ohtani is officially a Dodger.

Ohtani’s agent, Nez Balelo, spoke with Tom Verducci at Sports Illustrated about the record-setting contract, and all those deferrals.

“Nobody at the top of their sport has ever done anything like this,” Balelo says about how Ohtani came up with the idea of deferring the bulk of his salary. “No way. When he brought it up, I looked into it. Nothing comes close.”

Ginny Searle at Baseball Prospectus wrote that Ohtani takes the Dodgers to a new level, for a variety of reasons. “Ohtani is not, technically speaking, a perfect fit for the Dodgers’ roster as currently constructed,” Searle wrote, “Though that sort of concern is basically in line with Cher’s wardrobe in Clueless being too crowded.”

Will Leitch at New York Magazine is skeptical of the enormity of Ohtani’s contract. “We’ve never seen anything like Ohtani before. He is my favorite athlete in sports right now,” Leitch wrote. “But this contract is insane.”

Thomas Harrigan at identified a baker’s dozen of Ohtani-related dates to circle on the 2024 calendar.

Walker Buehler in his weekly appearance on the Just Baseball Fans podcast shared his reaction to Shohei Ohtani signing with the Dodgers.