By Scott Mandel
This 10-year Dodger commitment to Shohei Ohtani has all the makings of a disaster, from an on-field production standpoint.
The Dodgers acquired a pitcher, now two major arm surgeries into his career, who will lose velocity over the next year or so, from the pitcher who consistently hit 98 mile per hour on the velocity gun to one who will most certainly lose a few miles off that fastball.. Whether that makes him a less effective pitcher remains to be seen. But it will make him a different kind of pitcher, more dependent on sliders and changing speeds.
However, the Dodgers are paying $700 million over a 10-year span for a 98 mile per hour fireballer that may no longer exist.
This deal also has the makings of a hitter who will hit lots of home runs over the next five years or so if he stays healthy, a significant if. And then, the Dodgers will have to pay out $350 million more for the last five years of his contract, for a player who will not look anything like the asset of the first five years.
That makes it a terrible baseball deal for the Dodgers, viewing it from a long-term on-field production basis, even if Los Angeles is a franchise unconcerned with its own P&L ledger.
From the standpoint of the health of the sport, it’s a terrible deal because it demonstrates that the distance between the haves and the have nots of baseball franchises has never been wider. Ohtani‘s $70 million annual salary by itself exceeds the total payrolls of four entire teams. I will repeat that. Ohtani will make more money from the Dodgers￼than four major league teams are paying their full rosters. That makes it very difficult for teams like Pittsburgh, Miami, Tampa Bay, Oakland, and others to compete when wealthy teams like the Dodgers can pay one player more than those teams can afford to pay their entire 25 man roster. ￼￼