MLB 2024: Shohei Ohtani is just the start of the Dodgers’ World Series offensive

 | December 22 | 

4 mins read

World Series trophy

Even before the Texas Rangers clinched a first World Series title in franchise history by swatting aside the Arizona Diamondbacks in early November, attentions had already turned to the honours the Los Angeles Dodgers might rack up with Shohei Ohtani in their line-up from 2024 onwards.

While there were other teams in the mix – some more seriously than others – the Dodgers always looked the huge favourites to secure the services of the Japanese phenom. Given the estimations of many baseball observers that Ohtani is about to become the greatest player the sport has ever known, it was a guarantee that whatever deal he struck was going to be almost entirely on his terms.

Los Angeles Dodgers MLB Odds:

  • To win the National League pennant - 11/4
  • To win the World Series - 5/1

The 10-year, $700 million contract he signed earlier this month is a record breaker in so many senses, and it keeps him in California after six years with the LA Angels. That ensures he’s still about as close as Major League Baseball offers to a quick route back to Japan when he needs one. More pertinently, the fact he will ‘only’ collect $2m a year during that decade, with the remaining $680m deferred evenly over the following 10 years, means the Dodgers get to keep on spending as they look to make Ohtani’s spell at Chavez Ravine a gold-plated one.

And they’ve already been at it. Big-ticket free agency pitcher Tyler Glasnow has arrived on a five-year $136.5m deal from the Tampa Bay Rays, who were also raided for centre-fielder Manuel Margot. With the likes of Mookie Betts, Freddie Freeman and Max Muncy already in their ranks, the Dodgers are understandably now a short-priced 11/4 to fly the National League pennant in 2024 and 5/1 favourites for World Series glory.

Los Angeles Dodgers 11/4 to win NLCS

Injury permitting, Glasnow will fill one of the spots vacated by Julio Urias and future Hall of Famer Clayton Kershaw from the regular rotation in 2023. But ‘injury permitting’ is doing a lot of legwork in that sentence since the 120 innings the 31-year-old threw last season is a career-high. Manager Dave Roberts and the front office will be sensible with his workload though, and there’s an expectation that they’ll find weak points in the schedule in which to give Glasnow time off in the hope that they can save his arm for the real business in October and November.

And while there will be no Ohtani on the mound for the next 12 months due to the elbow surgery he underwent towards the end of his time with the Angels, Glasnow was just the start of the likely additions as the Dodgers look to give Roberts a pitching staff in 2024 to match the calibre of their batting lineup.

According to several reputable sources, Yoshinobu Yamamoto is the latest big-name recruit. The 24-year-old Japanese star is set to sign a 12-year, $325 million contract which will back up Ohtani's signing in making the Dodgers 'Japan's team' in a marketing sense and will also help to make LA a pitching behemoth as well as a batting one, putting the whole of the National League on high alert.

Walker Buehler will return to contention after Tommy John surgery, and with Glasnow and Yamamoto joining him at the top of the rotation they already have a positive look about 60 per cent of their starting staff. Bobby Miller’s 11-4 record and 3.76 ERA made him a big success in his rookie year in 2023, leaving the Dodgers just one compelling left-handed option away from having a rotation to match the best in the business in 2024. Plus, in ’25, they’ll have a fully fit Shohei as their centrepiece on the mound.

Los Angeles Dodgers 5/1 to win World Series

On offense, with Betts, Freeman and Ohtani likely to be their regular 1-2-3, Max Muncy’s power will be well placed to knock in plenty of runs. There are rumours that big-hitting Mexican Randy Arozarena, another Tampa Bay Ray, might be a trade target, and that would certainly start to lengthen the meat of their batting order. Meanwhile, James Outman’s rookie return in 2023 of 23 home runs and an on-base percentage of .353 makes him a handful lower down the lineup too.

So it’s not just Ohtani’s two-way presence that makes the Dodgers a threat for years to come, however much it helps to have the closest thing to Babe Ruth since the ‘Bambino’ himself. The 29-year-old has just spent the last six years watching play-offs come and go from his armchair, with the Angels having failed to reach a single postseason since 2014 despite the presence of Ohtani and modern-day legend Mike Trout.

The Dodgers are not about to make the same mistake. Far from making the number 17 the be-all-and-end-all of their recruitment, they are now looking to build a dynasty around him. His arrival is only the start.

Share Article

(Visited 56 times, 1 visits today)