The Los Angeles Dodgers finished the first half of the MLB season on a four-game winning streak that gives the team a 51-38 record heading into the break. LA also finished a four-game sweep of the rivaled Los Angeles Angels, despite Shohei Ohtani's best efforts.
Ohtani had yet another vintage showing in an Angels loss on Saturday night. He went 3-4 with a home run and three RBI, finishing just a double shy of the cycle after hitting a sacrifice fly in the top of the ninth inning.
Dodgers fans certainly gave Ohtani a warm welcome as many believe that he could be coming to the team as a free agent in the winter. After all, the Angels have not provided the kind of success that Ohtani is looking for and head into the break with yet another disappointing first half in the books after they dipped below .500 at 45-46.
Ohtani is starting to wear his disappointment on his sleeve as well. The MLB's home run leader and guaranteed American League MVP (unless he is traded to an NL team) did not look like a happy camper following his team's loss to the Dodgers on Saturday. Ohtani sat there like he was contemplating his entire future with the Angels organization and his next move in MLB.
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Look, it stinks to see the best player in baseball be so sad because the rest of his team cannot keep up with him, but it's great for the Dodgers. It's very clear that Ohtani wants to play somewhere he can win, and there's no better place to do so than with the most successful team of the last decade.
Seeing the Dodgers' success against him first-hand could be enough to potentially swing the decision in favor of Los Angeles. Other big-market teams, such as the San Francisco Giants, are also going to throw bags of money at Ohtani to convince him to come, but the Giants don't have the established foundation of success the Dodgers do.
This is a team that has made the postseason for a decade straight, has two of the five best players in the National League, has one of the smartest front offices in baseball, arguably the best fanbase, and a loaded farm system. Everything is geared for success in LA as the Dodgers could legitimately make the playoffs another decade in a row.
Not many other teams can promise the kind of stability the Dodgers can. Ohtani knows it because he's right down the I-5 from where all of it is happening. Nothing is guaranteed until the pen hits the paper, but Dodgers fans have to feel great about Ohtani's future prospects in LA.