The Los Angeles Dodgers will make Shohei Ohtani their “top priority” in MLB free agency and the organization reportedly feels good about their chances of signing the 2023 MVP candidate.
This season, the Dodgers won 100 or more games for the third straight year, however, the impressive showing did not culminate in winning another World Series trophy. The disappointing results will set up a big offseason for the organization.
Last winter, LA was fairly conservative and did not make many big splashes in the free agent or trade market. Instead, they were more cost-effective than in years past and seemed to have a strategy with the goal of freeing up space for big moves this winter.
Heading into the start of the offseason in November, the Dodgers only have around $135 million in contracts for 2024, which is almost $90 million below their payroll for this past season. Plus, they are currently $75 million under the tax threshold they have surpassed in the last two years. It all points to Los Angeles being a major player in free agency this winter.
The organization’s decision not to spend big last year was seen by many as planning for the half a billion it would take to sign three-time All-Star Shohei Ohtani on the open market. However, after undergoing a second Tommy John surgery this year, it became unclear if the Japanese two-way star was still a goal for the team this offseason.
Los Angeles Dodgers only have $135 million in contract commitments for 2024
A new report from Jack Harris of the Los Angeles Times claims the rumors about their 2022 strategy were likely true and they are feeling confident about the possibility of signing the one-time MVP.
“The two-way star will be a top priority for the Dodgers this winter. The team is cautiously optimistic about its chances of signing him, hopeful it checks as many boxes as any other suitor. And the process is expected to unfold quickly enough that it shouldn’t significantly affect the rest of the Dodgers’ offseason tasks.
“… The Dodgers’ pitch to Ohtani will probably be robust. First and foremost, they are an established winner that should allow him to compete for the World Series. They have a renowned infrastructure for player performance and improvement. They also have experience shepherding free-agent pitching acquisitions through injury rehabilitations.”– Jack Harris
It has been reported often over the last few months that playing for a winning team will be a high priority for Ohtani in free agency. The Dodgers are one of the winningest teams in MLB over the last decade.