Dodgers May Have Dodged a Bullet by Not Signing Shohei Ohtani

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ANAHEIM, CA - DECEMBER 09: Shohei Ohtani speaks onstage during his introduction to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on December 9, 2017 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Joe Scarnici/Getty Images)
ANAHEIM, CA - DECEMBER 09: Shohei Ohtani speaks onstage during his introduction to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on December 9, 2017 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Joe Scarnici/Getty Images) /
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The Dodgers may have dodged a bullet by not signing Shohei Ohtani after his recent physical reports reveal elbow ligament damage.

The Dodgers offseason was looking pretty bleak up until this point by missing out on several of the top players on the market. They may have caught their first break of the offseason with the latest news surrounding Shohei Ohtani.

Reports are coming out that the most recent Angel star, Shoehi Ohtani has a damaged ulnar collateral ligament in his pitching elbow, according to Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports. The injury is only a first-degree sprain, which is the least severe of the UCL injuries. But this injury often could lead to Tommy John surgery.

Although baseball fans never hope for a player to go down because of an injury, it’s difficult not to point out that this softens the blow for the Dodgers after missing out on signing him. Ohtani is considered a can’t miss prospect from Japan but has had his fair share of injuries in his career.

Last season Ohtani was limited to only 25 1/3 innings pitched with a strained hamstring. Arthroscopic surgery followed that injury on his right ankle that was injured during the 2016 Japan series and kept him out of baseball activities through spring training of 2017.

Ohtani is dealing with the elbow injury by injecting a shot of PRP, a biologic of centrifuge-spun blood that is used to promote healing. They are hoping that Ohtani resumes throwing in about a month after taking the PRP shot.

If this injury turns out to be as severe as it indicates, the Dodgers may have avoided a salary cap nightmare. The Angels committed over $2.3 million in signing bonus along with the $20 million in international posting fee.

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There’s no doubt that Dodger fans were disappointed with the news that Ohtani chose the Angels over the Dodgers, but this injury sheds light on the risk that no analyst wanted to talk about. As great of a prospect Ohtani is, there was always a great deal of uncertainty about the young star. Absolutely nobody will doubt his potential, but young, international prospects still propose risk when committing such a huge dollar to bring them to the states.

As of now, neither the Angels or Ohtani’s agent have commented on the breaking news. For Angels fans they can’t help but be nervous in light of this news. For Dodger fans, they have to be a bit relieved that they don’t have to dance around a lingering elbow injury.

This doesn’t signal the end of the Ohtani bonanza. The beautiful thing about him is that he provides value on both the offensive and defensive aspects of the game. If Ohtani does indeed need Tommy John surgery, it would be interesting to see if the Angels let him serve as their full-time DH and hold off on him pitching in the MLB.

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It’s really unfortunate that Ohtani isn’t 100% healthy as advertised. I was really hoping to see what type of player he would be against MLB talent. Time will tell how severe the injury is moving forward. But at least for now, the Dodgers may have saved themselves a big headache.

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