Ohtani signing with the Angels doesn’t change anything for the Dodgers

(Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
(Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /

‘Japan’s Babe Ruth’, Shohei Ohtani, has signed with the Los Angeles Angels, but it doesn’t change anything for the team that plays 30 miles up the 5 freeway.

It’s official, Shohei Ohtani has signed with an MLB team. In 2018, he will be playing in Southern California, for a club the Dodgers know all too well. Joining Mike Trout and Albert Pujols in Anaheim, Ohtani begins his career as a major leaguer.

I have to say, I didn’t see the Dodgers signing Ohtani and trading for Giancarlo Stanton.  I could see one of those players in Dodger blue, but not both.

Fear not, Dodger fans. This doesn’t change anything.

For starters, the Dodgers could still trade for Stanton; and he wants to play at Chavez Ravine.  If the Marlins and Dodgers agree on a trade, he will be in Dodger blue on Opening Day. Should that happen, and it very well could, LA will be the team to beat not only the National League but all of baseball.

Shohei Ohtani is a great player. We all know that, and it matters, but he didn’t sign with the Giants or the Padres, he signed with the Angels — the AL West Angels. The Dodgers play them 6 times in 2018 — six games out of 162.

The only way I’ll be worried about this is if the freeway series becomes the freeway World Series. Until then, I plan on showing the utmost support for the Angels.

The Angels are good. The Dodgers are good. This is what baseball is supposed to look like.

Looking to the immediate future, the Dodgers have one question to answer. — will Giancarlo Stanton be wearing blue on Opening Day?

The Angels signing Shohei Ohtani won’t affect the Dodgers much, if at all. The Marlins trading Stanton, though, probably will. It was reported today that Stanton, who has a full no-trade clause, has rejected trades to the St. Louis Cardinals and the San Francisco Giants.

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Knowing that the reigning NL MVP won’t be playing against the Dodgers on Opening Day may bring some semblance of relief, but just because he won’t be playing against the Dodgers on March 29th, doesn’t mean he will be playing for them.

Nothing has been decided yet. This is a thrilling story that is still in its first few chapters. But we all know that stories like these can get really good really fast.

The Dodgers have the prospects, and they have the money to acquire the Marlins slugger. Of course, there is the concern about wanting to stay under the luxury tax as much as possible, and that goal just became far more attainable. With the Giants and Cardinals out as potential landing spots for Stanton, the Marlins will most likely have to eat more of his contract than they originally planned on. Theoretically, the Dodgers can pay all of Stanton’s contract but, realistically, they probably won’t. It’s a big contract. Yes, Stanton is a great player, but the contract is a concern, no matter how you look at it.

Shohei Ohtani would have been great as a Dodger. Then again, he would have been great as a Mariner, a Padre, or a Cub, too. The one thing we know is this, he will be great as an Angel and, right now, that’s really all that matters.

Stanton, though, could still become a Dodger. He wants to play for a contender, and the Dodgers plan to be one for a long time.

Same city. Two teams. Two entirely different stories.

The Dodgers are going to be great next season, with or without Stanton.

The Angels are going to be a lot better next season with Shohei Ohtani, not to mention, a healthy Mike Trout.

The Winter meetings commence on Sunday, and something tells me that today was just the beginning. Jake Arrieta is still a free agent. So are Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas, and Yu Darvish, among others. The off-season is far from over.

The signing was simply an example of everything it can be.

The Dodgers didn’t sign Ohtani, and that’s okay. We have to remember that. Last season still happened. Kiké Hernandez still hit 3 home runs in Game 5 of the NLCS. That hasn’t changed, and that is what matters, what we saw in 2017. Our greatest hope now is that the Dodgers can build upon everything that began last April.

Next: Gordon Trade Hurts Dodgers' Chances of Landing Stanton

It’s safe to say that, no matter what, it’s a good time to be a baseball fan in Los Angeles.

I plan to enjoy every second of it, for however long it lasts.