Originally published by DodgerBlue.com
With the Los Angeles Dodgers fully focused on the offseason, the chatter surrounding free agent superstar Shohei Ohtani continues to grow with reports and speculation about where he might end up.
The Dodgers have been linked to the two-way talent, being considered as the favorites to sign him to a mega contract.
President of baseball operations Andrew Friedman scouted Ohtani in 2017 prior to him joining the Los Angeles Angels, and the Dodgers made multiple pushes to sign him previously, falling short both times.
But with another opportunity available, the Dodgers and Friedman don’t want to miss out on their prized target again, per Buster Olney of ESPN:
“One person in the Dodgers’ organization said president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman is “obsessed” with Ohtani and that Friedman will put L.A. in position to land him.”
Friedman is likely not the only executive who is obsessed with Ohtani as he is a generational talent doing things that have never been seen before. That will add to their competition to sign the two-way star, but the Dodgers are still the ideal fit for him.
Ohtani is on track to land his second Most Valuable Award in three years, after he amassed a bWAR of 10.0, while leading Major League Baseball in slugging (.654), OPS (1.066). On the mound, he posted a 3.14 ERA and 167 strikeouts in 132 innings.
The Dodgers pursuit of Mookie Betts prior to the 2020 season isn’t in the same conversation of what it’ll take to bring Ohtani in. As Betts’ contract includes a lot of deferred money through 2044, a deal like that might not be enough, which will then require a new level of spending to add the best free agent in league history.
What would it cost Dodgers to sign Shohei Ohtani?
Early speculation surrounding the contract required to sign Ohtani have been massive. With his ability as a two-way player put him in rarefied air because of how much he impacts the game as a pitcher, when healthy, and as an offensive force.
How Ohtani has forced MLB to alter the rules to allow him to stay in games after being taken out as a pitcher is a plus-value, and the clubhouse push he’ll bring is exactly what the Dodgers currently need. Betts and Freddie Freeman are the two lead men, but Ohtani’s value in tenacity, and fanfare, make it must-see television.
Current contract projections for Ohtani are for 12 years, $528 million, with overwhelming favor of him signing with the Dodgers per MLB Trade Rumors. That deal would eclipse Aaron Judge’s deal he signed with the New York Yankees last year, which clocked in at $360 million.
The average annual value would have to be huge, but for a player MLB has never seen in this modern game, another record has to be broken to make him the long-term future.
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