BFN ROUNDTABLE: Ohtani signs with the Dodgers

Mookie Betts and Shohei Ohtani sharing a joke during a game.

After much anticipation, it’s official; the most highly-prized free agent this off-season, possibly ever, Shohei Ohtani revealed via his Instagram page that he has signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers on what is reported to be a ten-year deal worth $700 million.

Baseball fans across the world had an opinion on which team Ohtani should sign with, and there has been an outpouring of opinions from fans, players and pundits alike since it was revealed on Saturday he would simply be driving 30 miles up the I-5 North freeway to Dodger Stadium.

Now the dust has settled, we here at Bat Flips & Nerds have assembled a collection of BFN contributors and friends, including two Dodgers fans and an Angels fan, to give their thoughts on what amounts to the biggest free agent signing in American sports history.

Ian Blease

The Ohtani deal is obviously absolutely huge.

You don’t give out the biggest contract in baseball history and expect not to have a massive target on your back afterwards. Let’s be real, Ohtani is the best player to have ever played the game and deserves the biggest contract. For this he will bring his monumental talent to LA, and with him will come a whole continent of new fans to a team that already had a huge market – if anyone can make this deal work, it is the Dodgers.

Hold tight, it’s going to be a hell of a ride!

Ian Blease is the co-host of the Dodging Sleep podcast, and can be found on Twitter @Bleasedog.

Freddie Law-Keen

The best players need the biggest teams, almost as much as the biggest teams need the best players.

Shohei is a Dodger. For the Dodgers, it’s cost $700m and three years of passing on all the best free agents, but the vision was made and the plan executed. When I was told about Kikuchi’s dinner booking, and Ohtani being on a flight to Toronto, I couldn’t fathom the failure that these last three years would have been. Thankfully, that will forever be a ‘what if’.

  • Have we paid one person more money than about ten teams’ entire payroll? Yes.
  • Are we paying 70 million a year for a pitcher who can’t pitch next year, and who may never reach his lofty heights again? Yes.
  • Do we STILL need pitching going into 2024? Yes.
  • Is this one of the greatest days as a Dodger fan though? Yes.

We can worry about all the questions later; this is the off-season, and it’s almost Christmas. Now is the time to smile and purr at the shiny new things that you get. No gift could be greater than Ohtani in LA.

Freddie Law-Keen is the LA Dodgers’ contributor for Bat Flips & Nerds, and can be found on Twitter @FLK_Sports.

Nick Wright

The inevitable finally happened and Shohei Ohtani moves up the freeway to the Dodgers.

It was a day of mixed emotions, but in some ways relief that a decision had been made and the Angels could now try and find a way to move on in the post Shohei era. An era full of regret that we were unable to put a winning product on the field surrounding two of the game’s very best players.

Shohei gave us some special memories – Rookie of the Year, two MVPs, 170+ HRs, 600+ Ks on the mound, and so many incredible moments. It was a pleasure to be awake in the middle of the night watching Shohei’s greatness on a daily basis and it really stings that someone else, particularly the Dodgers, now gets to enjoy that privilege instead of us.

Image credit: AP Photo/Paul Sancya

However, the numbers are astronomical. In my view, only the Dodgers could commit that sort of package to a player coming off the back of his second major elbow surgery. The Angels were unable to win with Shohei on a rookie deal, and there are far too many gaps on the roster to have expected them to be able to compete with $140 million tied up in three players. So, in reality, it might have been the best thing for roster construction to see him go. That doesn’t mean it isn’t painful to see him go, and to lose the most talented player of all time though.

I thank Shohei for everything he gave to this franchise, and I wish him all the best on a personal level. But hopefully no World Series.

Nick Wright is Bat Flips & Nerds’ Los Angeles Angels contributor, and can be found on Twitter @LAAngelsUK.

Russell Eassom

Ohtani going to the Dodgers is the best result for MLB and probably for baseball as a whole.

Like Juan Soto going to the Yankees, the best players need to be playing in the biggest markets for the best teams. The marketability of MLB just went up again this off-season.

The contract is massive but it’s not when you think how much revenue this will bring into the organisation, even when they lose half of the merchandise sales to revenue sharing. 

And before you kid yourself that your team couldn’t afford it, they could. They all could. They just chose not to because they are cheap.

Russell Eassom is the co-host of the Bat Flips & Nerds podcast, and can be found on Twitter @REassom.

Brett Walker

The value of the deal speaks volumes: it’s a deal that acknowledges that Ohtani, once fully healthy, will essentially be providing the Dodgers with the services of two different All-Star-calibre players – a designated hitter who finished fourth in home runs last season (44) with a batting average that put him in the top ten among qualified players (.304), as well as a starting pitcher who had an ERA of 3.14, 1.04 WHIP and 167 strikeouts in 23 games last season.

It’s a lot of money for someone who isn’t going to be able to pitch again until the start of the 2025 season following surgery on the torn UCL in his right elbow in September, but Ohtani is a two-time American League MVP coming off a stellar 2023 season.

Of course, the Dodgers were going to sign that guy.

Brett is the Oakland Athletics contributor for Bat Flips & Nerds, and can be found on Twitter @BrettChatsSport.

Featured image – Mark J. Terrill/ Associated Press

One comment

  1. ‘Let’s be real, Ohtani is the best player to have ever played the game’

    Let’s return to reality: there’s a World Series MVP and a future 1st ballot Hall of Famer who could argue that Ohtani isn’t even the best Japanese player to have ever played the game.

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