Fears of Dave Roberts' leakage. Arm troubles changing the master plan. The "favorite" curse. An unfavorable 2017 meeting. The spotlight.
The Dodgers had a lot to overcome in securing Shohei Ohtani, their white whale, who preferred to avoid the limelight both last time around and in his current free agency non-spectacle under cover of darkness. But when Andrew Friedman makes up his mind two years ahead of time, it turns out he's able to formulate a pretty good plan for coercing a mega-star to go along with his whims.
Ohtani announced on Saturday that he had chosen the Dodgers, after a free agency search that lasted ... well, we genuinely have no idea, actually. He ducked out on the Winter Meetings. He flitted across the country like a bat. He had his mind made up weeks ago? Years ago? Regardless, the face of baseball has officially landed, after an entire useless day of the entire nation of Canada following his plane.
Yes. He announced it himself.
"Semi-informed gossip" ahead of the Winter Meetings had the Dodgers losing steam, with teams like the Blue Jays, Cubs and Giants reportedly lurking. Earlier in the winter, the Rangers and Mets were expected to be in. The Padres loomed last offseason. Nothing was more terrifying than Friday's frenzy, which included a private plane manned by, not Ohtani, but rather Shark Tank's Robert Herjavec. But the Dodgers have long been the one constant.
They can't be done. Ohtani will not help their rotation in 2024, and may take a while to get up to speed (if he ever returns to pitching at all). Los Angeles needs a Corbin Burnes trade desperately, or a Jordan Montgomery signing to quell fears. But all of that feels like tomorrow's worry, now that the most electric left-handed bat in the game will join Freddie Freeman and Mookie Betts in a lineup that can't possibly struggle through another postseason. Can it? It can't. We won't let that happen.