Dodgers’ Dave Roberts angers Giants fans with Shohei Ohtani-Barry Bonds comparison

Los Angeles Dodgers Workout
Los Angeles Dodgers Workout / Chris Coduto/GettyImages

Despite his international superstardom, Shohei Ohtani has seemed set on remaining humble as he joins the Dodgers. During his first media appearance at spring training, he told reporters that he was coming into camp like a rookie would; he was to get to know the team and be a good teammate. The rest of the Dodgers seem taken by Ohtani's sociability and work ethic, with Freddie Freeman sharing that Ohtani regularly asks him about his son Charlie, and fellow LA newcomer Teoscar Hernández saying that Ohtani is a "very likable person."

Still, Ohtani's talent supercedes all things. Dave Roberts had praise of his own, comparing Ohtani to Barry Bonds, who Roberts shared the field with as a San Francisco Giant in 2007. Roberts also believes, earnestly, that Ohtani could surpass him both on the field and as a healthy clubhouse addition, despite the heightened attention that follows him everywhere he goes. Roberts noted that Bonds was the best player he's ever competed with, but Ohtani could be the best player of all time.

Dodgers’ Dave Roberts thinks Shohei Ohtani could be better than Barry Bonds

Bonds' legacy is complicated and controversial, and Ohtani seems set on making his own anything but. Ohtani will have 16 MLB seasons under his belt by the time his contract with the Dodgers is up, and who's to say that he'll be done, even after his age 39 season? Bonds retired when he was 43. Either way, he's likely to be a perennial All-Star and MVP candidate the way Bonds was by the time he retires, and he's already left an incredible mark on the game that's having cascading effects — contract deferrals, more Japanese players coming over from NPB, and a few more two-way players making their way through the minors.

Ohtani probably ever won't hit 73 home runs in a season, but he's already done something Bonds could never have dreamt of doing: had a 40+ home run season while pitching 130+ innings. Roberts' comments might stir up the ire of Giants fans who live and die by Bonds, but there's no doubt that Ohtani is the most special player currently playing the game, and he might become the most special player to ever do it. The Dodgers will certainly be the best custodians of that journey.