3 reasons the Dodgers' deal with Shohei Ohtani could be a horrific mistake

The Dodgers' deal with Shohei Ohtani might not be the slam dunk it appears to be.
Los Angeles Angels v Oakland Athletics
Los Angeles Angels v Oakland Athletics / Michael Zagaris/GettyImages
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No one -- I repeat --no one should actually be upset that the Los Angeles Dodgers landed Shohei Ohtani unless they just don't want the Dodgers to have nice things and/or because their team couldn't secure his signature. A certain amount of jealousy and pettiness under those circumstances is to be expected and, frankly, respected to an extent.

In a vacuum, though, Ohtani's free agency and subsequent contract has boosted interest in the offseason and the game of baseball on a global scale. He's going to be playing in a huge market, which should showcase his talents even further, and the structure of his contract is just delightfully weird and allows the Dodgers to remain fixtures in the offseason rumor mill. Folks may be mad at the end result, but there's no denying baseball fans truly cared about the outcome one way or the other.

That said, Ohtani's deal being nothing but positive for the Dodgers is a bit misleading. Yes, Ohtani deferred most the money owed to him to lessen the luxury tax hit and yes, the marketing dollars and ticket sales will roll in with him on LA's roster. However, what's being undersold is the number of risks that the Dodgers have inherited even with Ohtani being a once-in-a-century type of player. There are a number of ways that signing Ohtani to the contract to end all contracts could end very poorly for LA even if the first few years go very well for both sides.

3 reasons the Dodgers' deal with Shohei Ohtani could be a horrific mistake

Long-term contracts almost never end well in baseball

The reality of the game of baseball is that all players are working against time. Other than a few exceptions to the rule, performance is expected to decline once a player hits around age 30. Father Time is cruel, but that's just how things go for the most part. What assurances do the Dodgers have that Shohei, who is 29 and now under contract for the next decade, is going to remain the force of nature?

A cursory look at the more recent long-term deals on both sides of the ball should cause some skepticism here. Miguel Cabrera ended up getting 10 years and $292 million from the Tigers, but every season he had from 2017-onward was middling to actively bad. Albert Pujols got 10 years and $254 million from the Angels and he couldn't stay healthy or turn back time. The Yankees would love to shed the remainder of the 13-year, $325 million contract owed to Giancarlo Stanton they inherited when they acquired him from the Marlins. Javy Baez and Anthony Rendon are both on deals their teams regret having on their books.

The long-term pitching deals are even worse. Madison Bumgarner swindled the Diamondbacks into giving him five years and $85 million when his best days were clearly behind him. Stephen Strasburg got seven years and $245 million from the Nationals and has only pitched eight times over the last four seasons. Patrick Corbin is one of the worst starters in baseball after getting a nine-figure deal. Chris Sale can't stay healthy in Boston after getting $145 million. All of these guys were top end talents when they signed and all of their deals ended up being disasters.

That might not be the same story for Ohtani, but these are the facts.