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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Shohei Ohtani may not ever be the pitcher he was again with the Dodgers

Some make think that Shohei is a different class of player that's somehow immune to the declines that the league has seen with such long-term deals. While that optimism could prove to be correct, what complicates matters is that there's a real possibility Ohtani, who had his second major elbow surgery in 2023, will never be the pitcher he once was.

The list of guys who have had two Tommy John surgeries and have come back to pitch well isn't particularly long. Nathan Eovaldi is best source of hope here. He's a power arm like Ohtani and he has pitched quite well since going under the knife back in 2016 for the second time, even with some other IL stints since then. Jameson Taillon and Chris Capuano did well with two elbow surgeries, but then there are the less fortunate cases like Josh Johnson and Kris Medlen, whose careers were basically over afterwards. On top of that, we still have no idea what Jacob deGrom, Dustin May, Walker Buehler, or Shane McClanahan are going to look like when they get back from their second procedures.

For Ohtani to find success on the mound, he simply has to have his best power stuff. For as good of a pitcher he's been, Ohtani has never been a guy that dots the corners, nor has he gotten hitters to chase out of the zone. He needs to have his best stuff to overpower the opposition.

In the worst-case scenario, the Dodgers will have committed $700 million to a full-time DH (but a really good one that happens to be an international icon). That's way above market value even if you're feeling generous and account for his deferrals and decreased luxury tax hit. Plus, a full-time DH isn't going to have the same off-field juice as the best two-way player in the history of baseball, which leads us to ...