The Los Angeles Dodgers have been in the mix for Japanese superstar, Shohei Ohtani. However, the latest MLB news is not in the Dodgers favor.
The Los Angeles Dodgers are no strangers to Japanese superstars. In 2016, the Dodgers signed Kenta Maeda who has been a staple of the rotation. At the trade deadline, Yu Darvish was brought in and may be returning. Back in 1995, the team made history by making Hideo Nomo the first Japanese major leaguer to permanently become an MLB pitcher.
It does not stop there. The Los Angeles Dodgers are one of the most active teams in bringing in international signings. Right fielder Yasiel Puig was brought in back in 2012. Pitching phenom Julio Urias was signed in Mexico after the team saw him when they scouted Puig. Three of the organization’s top 10 prospects — according to MLB Pipeline — are international signings.
Thus, the Boys in Blue seemed like natural candidates for Japanese superstar, Shohei Ohtani. Ohtani had the Dodgers in his final seven candidates list even though they did not check off every box.
Sure, they did not provide the small market that Ohtani seemingly wanted, but the pros outweighed the cons. First, Ohtani would get his wish of signing on the West Coast. Second, he would be signing with a contending team without having to be the backbone (hello, Clayton Kershaw). Third, Los Angeles has a massive Japanese market that could make Ohtani a star.
There are some problems. The Los Angeles Dodgers only have $300,000 in international signing money. To come to Los Angeles, Andrew Friedman’s front office needed Ohtani to take less money than he would elsewhere.
That still did not rule the Dodgers out. Heck, even I bought into the hype and played a hypothetical scenario on how the Dodgers could get Ohtani and Giancarlo Stanton.
However, with the recent moves in the MLB, it may be time for Dodger fans to give up on this Ohtani dream. Select teams are making big moves that are reaching out to Ohtani, and quite frankly, the Dodgers cannot compete.
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One of Ohtani’s finalist, the Seattle Mariners, have been busy. First, the Mariners traded catching prospect David Banuelos to the Twins for international slot money. Then, the Mariners acquired Dee Gordon and international singing money from the Marlins for a trio of prospects.
They are not alone, however. The Angels, another final candidate for Ohtani, traded Justin Kelly to the Atlanta Braves for Jim Johnson and international pool space.
This could boil down to a two-horse race. While this does not guarantee Ohtani will go to the AL West, it certainly is a telling sign. The Mariners and Angels are willing to give up pieces for Ohtani, a luxury the Dodgers do not have.
In the long run that may be fine though. Without a designated hitter the Dodgers would have a challenge in utilizing Ohtani’s bat. This is especially hard considering the Dodgers do not have many places to put him in the field. If the Dodgers also acquired Stanton it would likely take the hitting portion out of Ohtani’s game altogether.
Thus, it may be time to ignore the hype of Shohei Ohtani if you are a Dodger fan and turn your focus elsewhere. Stanton and a solid number two starter are still in the mix for LA. Don’t worry — Andrew Friedman will be busy.