The Los Angeles Dodgers secured the biggest fish of their offseason -- or any offseason -- and they did it in style.
Not only will Shohei Ohtani be joining the Dodgers, but he'll doing so on a 10-year, $700 million contract that nominally acts as a $460 million pact, according to the luxury tax. Using devious deferrals your favorite team is probably jealous of, Ohtani cleared $24 additionally million annually for the Dodgers to spend until they reach the total they were probably expecting to pay for just one man (a bi-positional man, but still).
Language in Ohtani's contract stipulates the Dodgers spend that cash rather than pocket it, leading everyone to believe they will land their next target after getting more "aggressive" in recent days: Yoshinobu Yamamoto, the 25-year-old Japanese righty every legacy brand is currently yearning for.
But Yamamoto's contract, long rumored to surpass $300 million, could now reportedly approach $400 million including the posting fee. Steve Cohen of the Mets and Hal Steinbrenner of the Yankees won't let the Dodgers' contract chicanery interrupt their regularly scheduled bidding war, after all.
With the Dodgers currently sitting two (or three) starters short, are we certain blowing the whole pot on Yamamoto is the correct call? Or would finishing off a Tyler Glasnow trade, absorbing just a single year of his salary, then resetting with Corbin Burnes/Max Fried next winter be a better call? At that point, Ohtani can likely return to the team's rotation, further stacking the deck.
Dodgers could spend $400 million on Yoshinobu Yamamoto
Or they could, you know, just sign Yamamoto, trade for Glasnow, keep adding salary, import Fried next offseason, and keep evolving into the megalith Ohtani signed up for.
The sky really does remain the limit in Los Angeles, and they can do ... whatever they want, really, as long as they don't lose sight of the fact that their rotation is woefully incomplete. Walker Buehler should be fronting the current group, but his return from Tommy John isn't quite assured until we actually see it (though he should eventually be himself). Dustin May and Tony Gonsolin are down for the count. Clayton Kershaw could return midseason or not at all. Julio Urías, thought of as a potential long-term option midsummer, might not have an MLB future.
If the Dodgers have made a firm commitment to Ohtani that they'll thicken out their rotation and compete, they could make a monstrous play for Yamamoto first. They'll just have to pledge to go even further after that. Having one man occupy the entirety of the freed Ohtani space for the next decade is a bold play, but one you can't rule out, based on this team's mesmerizing previous week.
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