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Shohei Ohtani – Yay or Nay?

I know every baseball news report lists the Dodgers as the overwhelming landing spot for Shohei Ohtani.  I am still in the “I will believe when I read he has signed.  He is rumored to be announcing during the Winter Meetings.  I assume there is an outside chance that he will sign next week, before the Winter Meetings.

I have said it a number of times, while they will not trade Bobby Witt Jr., it might be best that they do.  KC has arguably the second worst MLB roster (ahead of only Oakland), and the second worst farm system (ahead of only Houston).  They have no money for payroll to sign free agents.  They could be near a decade before they are a serious contender. And at least 5 years before they are more than a consideration.  No, Bobby Witt will not sign an extension with KC, that it probably approaching $300MM, and certainly north of $200MM.

What is best for KC?  Hold onto the current face of the organization, knowing you cannot extend him?  Or trade him to hopefully fill multiple holes?

I think the same is true when it comes to AF/BG/owners signing Ohtani.  The Dodgers fan base will feel let down if they do not sign him.  Nothing was ever said, but the feeling was that the Dodgers were staying away from the high cost FA so they could get under the CBT threshold and beat all bidders for Ohtani’s services this offseason.  The Trevor Bauer situation put a snag on their plans on getting under the threshold, but that did not lesson the belief the Dodgers were still going to earnestly and relentlessly pursue Ohtani this Winter.

But let’s harken back to last year, especially in October, and the LAD rotation was a Clayton Kershaw and his injured shoulder that required significant surgery, rookie Bobby Miller, and Mr. HR Lance Lynn.  Shohei Ohtani is out as a pitcher for at least one season.  The Dodgers current rotation is Walker Buehler who will have his innings monitored (per LAD, not me), Bobby Miller, and Ryan Pepiot.





Certainly isn’t going to scare many opposing teams.  Andrew Freidman and Brandon Gomes have both stated they will be aggressively looking to add to the rotation.  The fans’ assumption is that they will be pursuing a top of the rotation pitcher, but neither exec confirmed the level of starting pitcher talent pool they were fishing in.

I am of the opinion that Walker Buehler cannot be counted on to be a top of the rotation pitcher.  I certainly hope that he is ready to be atop the LAD rotation, but I cannot remember one pitcher with double TJ surgery that returned to top form his first year back.  Maybe he will be the exception.

In August 2016, Nathan Eovaldi had his 2nd TJ surgery with surgery to repair a torn flexor tendon.  Here is what he has done since returning in 2018.




He had some excellent outings, especially in Game 3 of the 2018 WS.  Buehler does have an advantage. He is a better pitcher than Eovaldi pre-surgery.  So even if he does not come all the way back, he will still be formidable, but maybe not Ace like right away.

The Dodgers are currently somewhere between $75MM and $80MM south of the CBT threshold, and somewhere between $95MM and $100MM south of the estimated 2023 payroll. There is nothing that even hints that the Dodgers are prepared to be persuaded by the threshold.

We can assume that Ohtani will have an AAV somewhere between $45MM and $50MM.  MLBTR estimates for the other front line FA pitchers.

  • Yoshinobu Yamamoto – $225MM 9 years ($27MM AAV)
  • Blake Snell – $200MM 7 years ($28.6MM AAV)
  • Jordan Montgomery – $150MM 6 years ($25MM AAV)
  • Sonny Gray – $90MM 4 years ($22.5MM AAV)
  • Shōta Imanaga – $85MM 5 years ($17MM AAV)
  • Eduardo Rodriguez – $82MM 4 years ($20.5MM AAV)

Trade options and their estimated arbitration salaries:

  • Corbin Burnes – $15.1MM
  • Dylan Cease – $8.8MM

From a baseball perspective, it might make more sense to eschew Ohtani and spend that $45MM++ on front line pitching.  But MLB is two parts…baseball and business.  So how do you spend the $75MM-$95MM.  The Dodgers do have the financial ability to buy both Ohtani and Yamamoto, but little else after that.

Do you buy Ohtani and sign one front line pitcher?  Do you buy Ohtani and trade for both Burnes and Cease?  Dou you buy Ohtani, sign Montgomery, and trade for Burnes or Cease?  Or if you have no desire to pay prospect capital, just buy Ohtani, buy one front line pitcher, and sign another in the Seth Lugo/Michael Wacha tier?  Any way you structure this team, they need at least 2 front line starters to move Buehler, Miller, and Pepiot down to 3-4-5.  If not, i

Or you just buy Ohtani, pitch the kids, and play musical chairs with Busch, Vargas, Deluca, Taylor, and Rojas.

Any way you structure this team, they need at least 2 front line starters to move Buehler, Miller, and Pepiot down to 3-4-5.  If not, it is going to be hope with Buehler and the kids.  That may get you through a season, but it will mean squat in the playoffs.  What would you feel more comfortable with in the NLDS:

Montgomery, Burnes, and Buehler or Buehler, Miller, and Pepiot?

AF/BG have a curious next 3 months.  Winter Meeting begin in 8 days.  We might have some idea of a plan in about 2 weeks.






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  1. Sign Ohtani and hit him third in the line-up behind Mookie and Freddie. Aaron Judge doesn’t pitch and gets $40 AAV and Ohtani is a better offensive player than Judge. It’s not my money and the Dodgers will be exponentially better both on the field and off with an Ohtani signing. It will happen…..I hope.
  2. Use some MiLB talent to acquire one of Cease, Burnes or another mystery top of the rotation pitcher.
  3. Sign one reclamation project like Flaherty, Giolito or Ryu.
  4. Sign Heyward
  5. Use some of the MiLB talent (players not traded to acquire Burnes or Cease) to fill in the margins.


Betts RF
Freddie 1B
Ohtani DH
Smith C
Muncy 3B
Heyward/DeLuca RF
Outman CF
Taylor/Busch/Vargas LF
Lux SS


Claude Osteen

Not sure if I’m a fan of getting Ohtani. It takes away ability to “rest” Smith and move Muncy out of infield. Use the money on 1 or 2 pitchers (losing as few draft picks as possible), acquire a 3rd baseman or outfielder with hitting ability and some semblance of a glove. I think Yamamoto is a better long term investment than Ohtani. I don’t want us hamstrung for years to get players or to extend our good young players.

Last edited 6 months ago by Claude Osteen

My opinion hasn’t changed.

Sign Ohtani for whatever it takes as soon as possible then wait for the phone to ring from agents whose clients want in on it. Betts, Freeman, Ohtani 4 times a night will be must see TV for the next 3 years (at least) and the registers will be ringing globally.


I get that having Ohtani makes business sense, but so does winning the WS. I would sign him to a short term incentive contract or a longer one with opt-outs because there is no guarantee that he will even be the same hitter by opening day or ever be the same pitcher.
I agree there is a need for 2 starters a 3rd baseman and a rh outfielder. And also that the only things we have heard AF/ BG say is they are prioritizing pitching. All the other chatter is just “journalists” spreading rumors to make their deadlines, and it ends up disappointing fans and making the front office look like failures.

Last edited 6 months ago by Dave

Now I am totally confused. Not really. I think Ohtani will bring a lot of money into the organization along with his hitting skills. If they have to wait a year or so for him to be able to pitch, structure the contract accordingly. He brings a lot of excitement to the game, along with a lot of questions. I for one, do not want to see them trade for rentals, and Burnes is a rental. If you traded for him and Adames, you are giving up part of your future. Sign free agents, and not the guys who have draft choices attached. If you sign Ohtani, they lose two draft picks, and 1 million in international pool money. They sign any of the six free agents who turned down their QO, the number of draft picks lost jumps to four.


I post this yesterday
Cease or Burnes
Freeman 1b
Gleyber Torres 2b (trade with Yankees)
Brendon Donovan 3b ( trade with Cards)
Lux ss
Outman lf
Robert Jr cf (trade with WS)
Betts rf
Smith c
Martinez dh
Much to ask for, lets see what happens.


Hey Bums, to your question yesterday: yes, some of these tournament courts look ridiculous. By comparison, the Lakers tournament court looks 20x better!

Yamamoto sat in the front row behind the basket; if you didn’t see the video, here it is:

Dodgers Free Agent Target Yoshinobu Yamamoto Seen Courtside at Lakers Game


A hard no from me unless AF can come up with a creative contract. Too many injury risks for the amount of money it’s going to take to sign him. It’s starting pitching and more starting pitching that’s going to give us a better chance to win a championship.

If the team is going to spend hundreds of millions of dollars on a player then give it to a 25 year old who has dominated Japanese baseball the past several years. To pay a soon to be 30 year old that has had two arm surgeries $40-$50MM a year is an overpay. The odds are against him with the arm surgeries. Sure, he offensive stats are outstanding, but that kind of money I would expect a .325+ average, 1.000+ OPS, 45+ HR and 130+ RBI from the past and into the future. He should have waited a couple more years in Japan and then come over as a free agent if he wanted to get a $500MM contract.

But, it isn’t my money or lost draft choices.
Carry on.


Consider this Ted:

$9 million/WAR. Last year he put up 6 oWAR with a 184 OPS+.

He is definitely worth $40m per year, at least for the next 3 years. Get the pitching lined up for next year, and for that I am fine with a rental, sit back and enjoy the show.


Let me repeat that:
184 OPS+


While I would love to have Witt play for the Dodgers, in a couple of years he will also be making $20+ annually. I think he would be more fun to watch than Ohtani but having both might really squeeze the payroll.

The Dodgers needed Martinez last year and he is in demand. He could be gone before Ohtani signs. I don’t trust a hitter that struggles to hit .200 so I think the Dodgers need to add a big bat. At least they have pitching volume.

So, either trade for Witt or sign Ohtani. If that only leaves room for one top pitcher then hopefully it will be Yamamoto.


According to that site the Dodgers have $121 million of cap space. And it’s my opinion they don’t give a rat’s ass if they go over it. The bottom line? The Dodgers can sign whoever they want to sign.

Jeff Dominique

Only two teams scored more than 900 runs in the regular season; Atlanta (947) and LAD (906). The two highest OPS in MLB belonged to the same two teams: Atlanta (.845) and LAD (.795). Both offensive juggernauts in the regular season went flat in the playoffs and were bounced in the NLDS. Two years in a row for the mighty Braves and Dodgers.

JDM had 33 HR, 103 RBI, and an OPS of .893. Just how many more runs does Ohtani bring? Will it make a difference? For those who believe the playoffs are a crapshoot, the ’27 Yankees could not be counted on. 

So is it the regular season or is it the playoffs? For me it is the playoffs. With Mookie, Freddie, Smith, Muncy, Lux, and Outman I think they have the potential for a very good lineup, but not one that can continually score 9 runs, and with their current rotation, that is what it will take. They lost their one big RH bat. 

Zack Wheeler (192.0), Aaron Nola (193.2 IP), Ranger Suarez, Taijuan Walker (172.2 IP), Christopher Sanchez (99.1 IP).

Max Fried (77.2 IP), Spencer Strider (186.2 IP), Bryce Elder (174.2 IP), Charlie Morton (163.1 IP).

Arizona has Zac Gallen, Merrill Kelly, and Brandon Pfaadt. I suspect they will find another front line pitcher, pushing Pfaadt to #4, and perhaps a Wacha/Lugo/Severino to step in to #5. But they already have a top two better than the Dodgers top two.

At least the Giants have Logan Webb and SD has Darvish and Musgrove. SF is in on every pitcher that LAD is. 

Dodgers Rotation:

Walker Buehler – 0 IP
Bobby Miller – 124.1 IP
Ryan Pepiot – 42.0 IP
Emmet Sheehan – 60.1 IP (4.92 ERA)
Ryan Yarbrough – 38.2 IP (4.89 ERA)
Gavin Stone – 31.0 IP (9.00 ERA)
Michael Grove – 69.0 IP (6.13 ERA)
Landon Knack – 0 MLB IP – 100.1 MiLB IP (43.0 at AAA)
Nick Frasso – 0 MLB IP – 93.0 MiLB IP (19.1 at AAA)

The Dodgers had 3 other SP in excess of 100 IP: Clayton Kershaw, Julio Urias, and Tony Gonsolin, with Kershaw the high at 131.1). None of the three figure to be with the team to start the season. 

Both Philadelphia and Atlanta have said they are going to prioritize top of the rotation pitching. The Braves seem to be in on Sonny Gray. Texas is prioritizing Jordan Montgomery. Both NY teams are prioritizing Yamamoto (and SF). Snell will go to the highest bidder and that will not be the Dodgers.

AF has signed exactly 1 pitcher to a term of more than 3 years, Brandon McCarthy. They did negotiate with Gerrit Cole, but they knew they were just driving the price up because Cole had zero desire to pitch for LAD. A step further, AF has signed just two impactful FA: Freddie and Bauer for more than 1 year. Bauer was a bust. The one time he failed to adhere to his “If you’re always rational about every free agent, you will finish third on every free agent.”. Freeman fell into his lap. Every other team had their teams filled and ready, and Atlanta traded for Olson. Freddie was a steal with his deal.

As far as sign Ohtani and the phone will be ringing with FA calling AF…the Dodgers reportedly made a very bold offer to Aaron Nola. Nola has since said that he would never pitch for LAD. He has zero desire to pitch in Los Angeles. What FA has AF been in a bidding war for and come out on top? One…Trevor Bauer. What FA wants to pitch in LA? Lucas Giolito? Jack Flaherty? He even lost to a pitcher who said he would rather stay in Detroit rather than pitch for a WS contender in LA. 

When you try to make the best deal, you will come in 3rd every time. I am waiting for a change in philosophy with trades and FA. But the one deal the Dodgers have done is to sign Ricky Vanasco to a MLB contract, not a MiLB contract with an invite to ST. This prompted multiple publications to question…just more of the same? Vanasco took a 40 man spot, giving them 39. The Braves emptied their cupboard of questionable players and now have 31. 

Bottom line for me…If signing Ohtani costs the Dodgers their ability to sign two top of the rotation pitchers, I say no. LAD needs SP, and SP in 2024.


So you’re not buying the Spotrac numbers.

What’s your take on the Dodgers’24 payroll numbers?

Jeff Dominique

As I said in the post. The Dodgers are currently anywhere from $75MM to $80MM below the CBT threshold and about $95MM south of their 2023 payroll that approached the second penalty of the CBT. I am not comfortable with one player taking $50MM and not fixing the SP market. I am also convinced that AF will come in no better than 3rd on elite FA pitchers. The best chance the Dodgers have of getting a front line pitcher is via trade, and AF has been very reluctant of trading prospects for rentals.

So for me, I think they will look at the business angle of getting Ohtani, sign him, and look for Noah Syndergaard/Andrew Heaney pitching. They will not find a RH bat. The Dodgers fans are looking at Deluca, while Texas has Wyatt Langford ready to join Evan Carter in the Show, And I know Carter is LHH but Langford is RHH, and is the #13 overall prospect.

I am prepared to be surprised with AF getting top pitching, I am just not confident he will. IMO Dodgers fans are deluding themselves if they think AF will sign Yamamoto to a 9 year $220MM deal. Steve Cohen will be bidding against Farhan Zaidi on this one. And with Senga in NYM, they have the edge. NYY will not be outbid by AF for any front line starter they may both be interested in.

I guess I am just pessimistic that AF will change.


I see one figure up there that says Dodgers payroll at $158m, leaving about $79m to stay under the tax ceiling, which I say again I don’t believe the Dodgers feel the need to do, then at the very end it says this:

Est. Tax Bill DetailsEst. Competitive Balance Tax Space $121,603,510

Whatever, my point is there is plenty of money to sign Ohtani to an AAV of $45m and have money for any free agent pitcher they like and plenty of assets in the system to trade for another pitcher. I don’t care if it’s a rental, Burnes, as we will have some of our own back in ‘25.

It’s my belief Dodger management is tired of finishing out of it and intends to go all out and field the most exciting team possible. And that begins with Ohtani.

I’ve read that Ohtani isn’t interested in money, which is of course laughably absurd, but I do believe it’s possible money won’t necessarily be the deciding factor. If he wants LA, he can have LA.

Last edited 6 months ago by Badger

The Dodgers need a big righty bat and Martinez might be gone before the Dodgers are ready to sign him. He was injured and missed games last year and will be another year older plus will want 3 years. Ugh.

I like Giolito. I also have always liked Wacha. Remember when he shut the Dodgers out as a rookie in a playoff game and some thought the Dodgers should have drafted him instead of Seager who at the time was still playing in the minors.

Singing the Blue

So, are you figuring something like Giolito and Imanaga and we hope that Buehler or Miller grabs the title of Ace?

I find it hard to believe that AF won’t use some prospect capital this winter in a trade. Whether that be for pitching or position player I have no clue, but I firmly believe that some of our pitching prospects (by some I mean 2 or 3) will be traded.

Rodriguez held a private workout today…………….for the Red Sox and Padres.

Singing the Blue

Rodriguez – the Dodgers have scouted everyone.

I wasn’t necessarily saying that he’d spend 2 or 3 pitching prospects in the same trade, but, as you point out, he hardly ever trades them. Because of that, they’re beginning to stack up to the point where he’ll never be able to use them all at the MLB level. That’s why he’ll trade a couple this winter.

I think Andrew (and possibly ownership as well) are at the point where they are finally frustrated enough to do something they might be uncomfortable with in order to break this routine they’ve settled into (winning the West and then getting eliminated way too early).

We’ve talked about Kasten not caring what happens as long as the team makes a lot of money. That may be his first priority but the players aren’t the only ones with big egos. Ownership, Kasten and Andrew want to win a couple of WS to cement their reputation. Otherwise they just go down in history as the guys in charge of a team that couldn’t get it done. I really, truly believe that weighs heavily on them (ego-wise) and that’s why I think they may do roster moves they would normally not do. They may wind up regretting them, but I think they’re ready to take that chance.


If Dodgers do something strange, for them, I would guess it would be giving Yamamoto a 9 year contract.

Ohtani could wind up being a right fielder if his arm allows him to make the throws a right fielder needs to make but not hold up to pitching 150 innings. A right fielder that hits 50+ home runs and bats .290+ could get him Judge money plus incentives money if he pitches 150 innings in 2025 and beyond.

Yamamoto, Miller, Buehler, Pepiot, Sheehan, Giolito

Last edited 6 months ago by Bumsrap

Signing Yamamoto and Giolito AND keeping all of our young pitching will allow us to have an insane amount of trade bait come July, if/when needed.


And who knows what will be their biggest need will turn out to be in July.


I read somewhere the players union does not like incentive clause. I don’t see one being used this winter. Certainly not with the proven players. I could be wrong.

I understand what Jeff is saying about Friedman but I still think (hope) this is the winter where he goes all out. It feels likely to me $237 million will not be a ceiling in ‘24. He can get Ohtani and one front rotation starter and a project starter and stay close to the threshold.

Last edited 6 months ago by Badger
Singing the Blue

I agree that throwing a huge contract at Yamamoto might be their biggest move. One reason they might be willing to give him a long contract is because he’s still so young and, of course, the need is there for elite pitching.

I go back and forth on this but at least half the time I think I’d almost rather they sign YY than Ohtani (assuming they don’t do both).

We don’t know that Ohtani will come back in 2025 as a top flight pitcher after 2 TJ’s and if they sign Yamamoto it still gives them extra money to fill in other holes.

Jeff Dominique

From a baseball standpoint, I wholeheartedly agree that the best move the Dodgers could make is to eschew Ohtani and his 184 OPS+ and get what they truly need…a #1 and #2 starting pitcher. Yamamoto is a great start. Then trade for Burnes or Cease. Assuming Pepiot is not in the trade for either, that would be Yamamoto, Burnes/Cease, Miller, Buehler, Pepiot. That would be an envious rotation. Arguably the best in MLB.

But where I disagree with you a bit is that while I do think the owners will do something different this year, it will be more like signing Ohtani, which improves their business model. But does it help a team whose starting pitchers pitched a combined 4.2 IP in 3 starts? I would have loved Blake Snell’s 5.0 IP in one of those games.

I assume Miller will be back and will improve on his 1.2 IP NLDS. But he is the only 2023 SP that is still with the team. The 1927 NYY team could not win with that rotation.

I may be wrong, but I believe that those who want Ohtani as a baseball choice, want him because it would be fun to see Mookie, Freddie, and Ohtani at the top of the order of LAD or any team. And I agree it would be fun. But it does nothing to help the rotation. Even if he is 225 OPS+ and a 12 WAR hitter.

I agree with Badger that the $237MM “cap” will not hold the Dodgers back. I believe the Dodgers “cap” is $277MM, which is the top of the second penalty phase. But they would prefer to stay under $257MM the first penalty phase. The tax is 50% of every dollar north of $237MM. There is a 12% surcharge for every payroll $$$ north of $257MM.

Another consideration for ownership, is that if they do not sign Ohtani, they could fix their rotation problems, find a RH bat and get under the CBT threshold.


If they want Burnes above anybody else they can probably get him. The Brewers are gonna want the house, but for any player in the last year of a contract they will have to settle for less.

I still believe the Dodgers can sign Ohtani and get the pitching they need:

And perhaps Burnes in a trade.

It could happen. Will it?

We wait.


The last time the Dodgers signed a top pitcher was Zack Greinke, more than 10 years ago. Trevor Bauer, was next but didn’t get to play out his contract. That was basically it. My point, is that AF does not have the track record of signing top pitchers. We rented Scherzer for the playoffs. All our pitching has been either homegrown with a few signing like Rich Hill and Anderson who both signed with other clubs. AF is a cheap charlie. His track record shows it.

Do I want him to sign Ohtani? Of course. What Dodger fan wouldn’t want Ohtani on our team? We’d have 3 of the top 10 batters in the league!!, not to mention a top quality pitcher.

Now, I have no idea what the FO is thinking. It does makes sense to pass on Ohtani and sign 2 FA pitchers who will start. If we lose Kershaw, we will not have one proven pitcher in our rotation, just a bunch of young, good arms, and those who have gotten purple hearts, but are still going to war.

Signing Ohtani is a sure thing, so to speak. Signing Yamamoto and Cease is not bad but not the same as getting Ohtani.

Sign me up for Ohtani.

Last edited 6 months ago by Jeff

Well tomorrow is the Monday after Thanksgiving and things should start to heat up. Winter meetings begin in a week and there is a ton of speculation that Ohtani will sign during the meetings. To tell you the honest truth, all I want the Dodgers to do is improve the team overall. How and who they do it with is not my problem. It is all on the brain trust of the team now.

Singing the Blue

Just sayin’:

If we sign Ohtani, he’ll want uniform #17, most recently worn by Vargas. If Shohei signs a $500MM+ contract, Miguel should get something really nice for relinquishing that number unless, of course, he’s traded.

If we sign Yamamoto, he’ll want his old uni #18, last worn by Shelby Miller and, according to AF, the reason he can’t re-sign Shelby. He wants YY to know there’s a clear path to Los Angeles.

The above is just my way of saying I’m bored with the lack of activity and truly hope I won’t have to come up with any more of these useless comments this coming week in order to keep myself entertained.


Kelly was wearing #17 after he was traded for and Vargas was back in the minors.

Singing the Blue

I’d forgotten about that. So that means if we sign Shohei, we can’t bring back Kelly and have to trade Vargas, right?


that’s what I’m gleaning from all this.

Oh well, if we do trade Vargas, at least Eric will be happy.

Last edited 6 months ago by Bobby

Who is Eric?

Singing the Blue

I think Bobby is referring to Eric over at Mark’s blog.

Fred Vogel

Who’s Mark? 😄

Singing the Blue

Don’t let Mark hear you ask that.

Last edited 6 months ago by Singing the Blue

Who’s on first?


Mariners signed former Dodger, Rangel Rovelo to a minor league deal.

Singing the Blue

Tigers sign old friend Kenta Maeda, 2 years/24 mil.


That’s more money in two years than he’s made in his 7 year career. A 36 year old 1 WAR pitcher. Why would Detroit do that?

Is this where the market is now? Nope. If so, it would Ohtani worth $72 million. Detroit is nuts.

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