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The $700 Million Dollar Man – It Is Sho Time Again in LA

Okay, I stole the Sho time moniker.  .

Well nothing like watching my grandson’s soccer game on a college pitch, then going to dinner and getting an excellent margarita to calm me down.  I said all along that the Dodgers were going to sign Shohei Ohtani, but from a baseball perspective, I am not happy.  I would have preferred Yamamoto, Montgomery, and a trade for Glasnow or Burnes, a RH corner OF bat, and maybe a defensive upgrade a 3B with Muncy to DH.  They could have done that for a lot less than $700MM.  But it would not help with the Dodgers owners’ increased wealth like Ohtani will do.

With the business transaction finalized, Ohtani/Guggs/Kasten/Magic et al. are in an overjoyed frenzy.  AF?  Now the pressure is on to win the WS without doing anything to the one area that they were burdened with last year: starting pitching.

Will the owners let AF go big pitcher hunting?  I have no idea.

But that offense. Last year they were 2nd in MLB in runs scored, RBIs, OPS, SLG, and OBP.  They scored over 900 runs.  They averaged 5.6 runs per game.  They scored 59 more runs last year than in 2022.  But they allowed 186 more in 2023 than in 2022.  This signing does nothing to turn that trend around. Their run differential decreased by 127.

So how do the Dodgers turn this around?  They need pitching.  But not from the bargain basement.  Let KC and Pittsburgh have James Paxton and Frankie Montas and Jakob Junis.

Possible Trades – Glasnow will be making $25MM with an AAV of $15.175MM and Arozarena is expected to be $9MM in arbitration.  Burnes is expected to make $15.5MM in arbitration.  Cease is expected to make $8.3MM in arbitration.

Free Agents – Yamamoto is now expected to make $300MM over 10 years.  IMO, they will not sign Snell as he was also granted a QO and the Dodgers will not sign a second FA with a QO.  The reports (predictions) for Jordan Montgomery I have seen are 6 years and $150MM.

Regardless as to how low the AAV goes due to the deferrals, the Dodgers will exceed the Threshold.  Because the Dodgers are a three time tax payer, the tax will be 50% for every payroll $ over $237MM to $257MM.  It will be 62.5% tax for every payroll $ over $257MM to $277MM.  The are currently at $247MM (pre-deferral).  That is $10MM over the Threshold.  I am going with the tax exceeding the save in the AAV due to the deferrals.

Mookie’s contract extension was 12 years $365MM, with $120MM deferred for 2033-2044.The deferral for Mookie drops the AAV by about $5MM. I do not know the extent of the deferral for Ohtani, but let’s double the AAV decrease to $10MM.  That leaves the Dodgers right at the CBT threshold.

I still see the Ohtani contract as a unicorn contract for a unicorn player.  One that the owners are happy with, and one they believe they will get them a great return on their investment.  But there is no indication as to how high they will let their payroll go.

The baseball skeptic in me still questions how a $700MM DH will help in 2024 with a starting pitching rotation  that was 20th in MLB in ERA (4.57) in 2023.  That was with Clayton Kershaw bringing that ERA down.  He will not be in the rotation until at least July, if then.  The Angels rotation had a better ERA than did the Dodgers last year.

The Dodgers rotation as it stands is Buehler/Miller/Pepiot/Yarbrough/Sheehan.  Will that be the rotation going into the season?  Absolutely not.  But where will it change?  At the top of the rotation or back end?  The Dodgers are unquestionably loaded at the mid to back of the rotation pitching in their system.  Elite?  Not so much.  You might convince yourselves that Stone/Sheehan/Frasso/Knack/Grove belong at the front end of a title contending team’s rotation, but you will not convince me.  I would not want any of those guys starting a must win playoff game against Arizona or St. Louis, much less Atlanta or Philadelphia.  Yeah, I know just get to the playoffs and let luck win out.  It is a crapshoot.  I say make your own luck.

Also, how long has it been that the Dodgers have not had multiple top LHP in the rotation?  Yarbrough is not only their best LHSP, he is their only one.  Ohtani will be fun to watch, but does absolutely nothing to improve their pitching in 2024.

2025?  How many pitchers with 2 TJ surgeries have come back to dominate?  The closest is Nathan Eovaldi, and while very good, he did not dominate.  Since his return in 2018, Eovaldi has surpassed 150 IP just once.

The Dodgers have their own double TJ starter, Walker Buehler, that needs to have his innings monitored. So much so that he will not start the season with the team. I do not expect him to pitch at his pre-2022 level in 2024.  Maybe never.  But I sure hope he does.  We are right back to that hope strategy.

I do not expect the Dodgers owners to pony up for Yamamoto, and I do not believe AF will successfully negotiate with Scott Boras for Jordan Montgomery. I see no way he signs any Scott Boras client to a multi-year 9 figure contract.  For me to believe he can do that, he would have to have done it at least once and not missed out spectacularly for every one of them.

That will leave the trade route most likely for the Dodgers.  Tyler Glasnow, Corbin Burnes, or Dylan Cease  The Dodgers have more than enough prospect capital to get two.  And they cannot hold onto them forever.

With Ohtani as the DH, for better or worse, Max Muncy is the 3B.  Where does that leave Michael Busch and Miguel Vargas.  Both are more valuable as potential trade potential than being a PH/platoon. That would mean also losing some of that back end rotation depth, which is sure to p*** off some fans who believe they are potential Aces.

While some may be helpful with just one of the elite pitchers and a reclamation project, like Lucas Giolito.  Me? I want two of the elite pitchers as well as Giolito.  The wild card is Shōta Imanaga.  While I do not believe he will be an Ace, he could be a solid #2 and no worse than a #3.  And he will cost.

What will the Dodgers owners let them do?

One last piece to the puzzle.  The Dodgers have 42 on the 40 man.  Who gets moved?  Trade?  DFA?

Finally, Clayton Kershaw is still not signed.  Here is a video I hope would be one the Dodgers would do for Kershaw.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Bluto

Vivas probably gone in the near term.
i see no way Busch remains.
For some reason I think Vargas stays.

a trade or two for a front of rotation starter.
Then depth in the form of Starter.

Badger

Jeff Passan:

“I’m going to explain why Shohei Ohtani’s $700 million contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers will not equal $700 million in terms of MLB accounting or the present-day value of the deal.

When money in a contract is deferred, the competitive-balance tax number — the luxury tax — is discounted. With a source saying a “majority” of Ohtani’s contract is deferred, the discount could be significant. Typically, a CBT number is the average annual value of a deal — in this case $70 million. But depending on the size and length of the deferrals, Ohtani’s CBT number is likelier to wind up in the $40-50 million-a-year range, an enormous benefit for the Dodgers.

The deferrals also affect the net present value of the deal. There’s a rule of thumb across all walks of life: Money today is more valuable than money tomorrow, inflation being what it is. When you defer money, you’re taking less. The Dodgers are operating in an environment in which the prime rate is 8.5%. And with money today being so pricey, it lowers the present-day value of the deal by a significant margin.”

The Dodgers can now focus on pitching.

Last edited 2 months ago by Badger
Dave

I totally agree with what you said Jeff. Maybe they can recoup the money being spent but they still need to win. And the differed salary will affect their aav for years to come..I’m sure Friedman already has trades ready and will get pitching. Who will get traded might surprise us considering how many left-handed bats we have. Busch? Muncy? Outman?
I have another point to consider,”Can you have too many star players on one team?” Has it ever worked? Thinking NY SD Phi

tedraymond

Per your thought on having too many stars, I don’t think so Dave. Compare the personalities of Betts, Freeman, and now Ohtani with the clown show in San Diego. I think the Yankees have a good clubhouse with all their stars (Judge, Cole, Stanton). Philly’s stars are quality people and have been successful recently. I don’t think it’s the star aspect, but the person behind that label. Excluding SD, the stars on the teams mentioned are competitive and want to win. They have the smarts and sense to put their egos aside for the common good of the team. I can’t see it being a problem for the Dodgers.

Good post.

Singing the Blue

I’m expecting Imanaga and one of Cease/Burnes/Glasnow. AF needs to clear roster space. That will happen when he sends a bunch of players for one of those 3 pitchers.

Badger

Probably. Just a question of who and when.

Spring Training should be a hoot. Record interest and record attendance.

Bobby

I’m expecting the same. I also think Sasaki will be on the radar from now till he gets posted (3 day from now or 3 years from now).

Singing the Blue

Strange that he waited so long to ask to be posted. He could have done that a couple of months ago.

Nobody seems certain if his contract has a clause which allows him to control the narrative, but we’ll know for sure by Friday (the posting deadline for this year).

Dave

After he saw what Ohtani got maybe he chose to jump in?

Bluto

I don’t think he’s going to be posted this year

Bumsrap

Adding Sasaki would really frost the balls of Dodger opponents.

Bluto

Per Jack Harris:

Rival agents think the present-day value of Ohtani’s deal (its true worth w/ the deferrals) will be in the $450M-$500M range, if not less. LAD should get CBT breaks, too  

Stands to reason that some of the cash the Dodgers save up front will be reallocated (allocated?) for other moves

Singing the Blue

I wonder what the feelings are in the MLB/Manfred offices about the possibility of the Dodgers also signing Yamamoto.

Would they prefer one team grab a lot of major stars and be the beloved at home and the hated throughout the rest of baseball (a la the old Yankees)? Or would they rather the talent be spread out and therefore be hoping that anyone but L.A. signs YY?

I’m guessing the latter, but the old Yankees were good for baseball.

Fred Vogel

Signing Ohtani was not just a business decision nor was it just a baseball decision. It was both.

Oldbear48

I am not going to judge the deal until I see who is at Camelback come spring training. Ownership did what they felt would be best for the team. People a lot smarter than me made these decisions. Me???? I am going to sit back and enjoy seeing Ohtani, Freeman, Smith, Betts and Muncy mash other teams pitching staffs. Who ever else joins the party will be a plus. But we will have no clue what the 24 team will look like until they are assembled in Arizona. Ohtani himself suggested the deferred money so the team could add pieces and that makes me give the guy a ton of respect as a team player.

RC Dodger

I am surprised that the Dodgers didn’t at least spread the $700 million over 12 or 15 years. That takes AAV down to $47 million before the deferral benefit.

Singing the Blue

Being reported that, in order to create the two 40-man roster spots we need for Kelly and Shohei, we are trading the Yankees an “end of roster” pitcher and a prospect for a Yankee prospect not on their 40-man.

No names available yet, pending physcials.

Sounds like it might be Vgon, Almonte or Hudson plus Vivas or Feduccia for a half-decent younger prospect. Let’s see how close I am.

Badger

Trade for Glasnow/Burnes. Sign Imanaga and Giolito.

Bobby

I love it. Thanks for the updates!

Badger

Guess there’s nothing more to talk about until the next move.

Bluto

Au contaire, mon frere!

Baseball Prospectus has their top ten!

Its ($$$$) but:
Vargas, Sheehan, Miller and Pepiot graduated.
Frasso and Rushing up.
Cartaya and Busch down.

They summarize:
The State of the System: The Dodgers have procedurally generated devastating slider and changeup shapes for nearly every arm in their system, while the hitting corps boasts a trio of power-hitting backstops amidst a wider variety of potential impact bats. Despite recent graduations and deadline buys, LA’s system retains its depth.

Bluto

I kinda like this move, Sweeney is a college kid, but Fangraphs had him top ten for the Yanks

Sources: The Yankees are sending shortstop prospect Trey Sweeney to the Dodgers in exchange for LHRP Victor Gonzalez and 2B/3B Jorbit Vivas.

This clears two 40-man-roster spots to make room for Shohei Ohtani and Joe Kelly

Singing the Blue

Looks like my guess from yesterday was a good one. Vivas was pretty much blocked by Mookie’s move to 2B and Vgon has become very inconsistent. Sweeney could be interesting. Can also play 3B but isn’t ready for the big show yet and doesn’t need to be on the 40-man.

Badger

A shortstop? 23. 6’2”, 212. Arm, 55, 50 hit, 50 power, 50 overall. AA, doesn’t hit left handers (OPS .559).

Where does he play next year?

Worth noting… LA Times:

”and now the Dodgers have all those young arms and Ohtani too, and they enviable resources, plenty of money, plenty of prospects, and plenty of time – to get an established starter or two. Baseball’s most mysterious star will be playing in Hollywood. His team is bound for October. His team could sell 4 million tickets next season, something no other team can do. On behalf of MLB, Rob Manfred is probably singing out loud right about now. WE LOVE LA! “

It’s good to be a Dodger fan. Don’t f*** it up this time.

Bluto

I think there’s still work to be done on him in the batters box.

Badger

I see him at AAA before next year is done.

Bumsrap

Over the course of the past two seasons, Torres (.266/.330/.452 slash line) has actually been the Yankees’ most productive hitter not named Judge, and he’s only 27. He has a few years at shortstop and second base so he should be able to handle third base. Now that the Dodgers have added a stud lefty DH, I would rather have Gleyber’s better bat to ball skills and hopefully better third base defense playing third for the Dodgers instead of Muncy. Surprise!!!

Again, after signing Ohtani, I would like for the Dodgers to consider trading Stone and Muncy for Burnes. Who would play third? Adames? I’ll keep Lux at short so Lux would be out of the trade for Adames.

Welcome to the Dodgers Sho Time.

Badger

I mentioned trading Muncy to a team that needs a DH a month ago and took some heat for it. “The Dodgers didn’t sign Muncy for two years to trade him”. Makes sense to me that’s exactly why they would trade him. Two years of 35 home runs and 100 RBIs for $24 million is a bargain. I still see Vargas at third, have for two years, and that leaves Muncy blowin’ in the wind.

But….. always a but…. Vargas and Muncy can exist in the same lineup, it just puts a dent in the defense. So what? This team is going to score.

Last edited 2 months ago by Badger
Bobby

Actually, it is interesting to think:

If we spend more money this offseason on pitching (Yamamoto) or trade for guys making money (Glasnow), would we try offsetting some salary (i.e. trade a Muncy or trade a CT3)?

I’m also wondering who might be the best pitcher to trade for. Glasnow makes more money in 2024 than Burnes or Cease, AND Glasnow career high innings pitched is only 120. So not like he’s some durable ace. Is he worth giving up some kids for, AND paying $25 mil in 2024 if he’s another guy who needs constant vacations?

Badger

Who’s more valuable to THIS team? – a modest hitting utility guy who can play multiple defensive positions well or a slugger who can’t play any defensive positions well.

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