Originally published by DodgerBlue.com
Los Angeles Dodgers ownership has been aggressive in assembling a World Series contender on an annual basis since the Guggenheim group purchased the team from Frank McCourt in 2012, but last offseason saw a more conservative approach and it was widely interpreted to be in preparation for when Shoehi Ohtani became a free agent.
The general belief was the Dodgers planned to get below the luxury tax threshold for the 2023 season in order to reset their penalties moving forward, but they failed to do so. L.A. nevertheless appears to be at the center of the Ohtani sweepstakes this winter.
In addition to the Dodgers, the Boston Red Sox, Los Angeles Angels, San Francisco Giants, Seattle Mariners, New York Mets and Texas Rangers have been mentioned as potential landing spots for the two-way superstar.
According to ESPN’s Alden Gonzalez, the Dodgers ownership group, led by controlling partner Mark Walter, planned to be dogged in their pursuit of Ohtani:
The Dodgers have long been considered the favorites, for obvious reasons — they reside in Southern California, boast a rich history, have proven to be the industry’s most adept at sustained winning and have only two long-term deals on their books in Freeman and Betts. Before October, Dodgers ownership, sources said, was highly motivated to land Ohtani.
Already with long-held interest in signing Ohtani, the Dodgers figure to be further motivated when factoring in their back-to-back postseason failures. During that time they’ve managed to win just one playoff game and in both years were eliminated in the National League Division Series by an NL West opponent.
It was previously reported Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman was focused on signing Ohtani, who may be open to a short-term contract that includes an opt-out clause that would allow the right-hander to re-establish his value as a pitcher.
Such a deal would fit well with how the Dodgers front office has operated under Friedman, but the team presumably is willing to extend themselves to any terms necessary.
Shohei Ohtani donates gloves
While MLB free agency is fixated on Ohtani’s decision, he recently announced 60,000 gloves will be given to students at elementary schools in Japan in effort to continue to growing the game’s popularity.
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