The Shohei Ohtani sweepstakes are over and he is headed to arguably the richest franchise in the MLB today in the Los Angeles Dodgers. Ohtani signed a whopping 10-year, $700 million contract on Saturday afternoon after several days of meetings between his camp and other suitors. After months of rumors suggesting the two sides would unite in free agency, that ended up being precisely what happened.
Other organizations like the San Francisco Giants, Toronto Blue Jays, and Chicago Cubs were serious contenders for Ohtani, but it was the Dodgers that won out. Ohtani joins a spectacular Dodgers lineup led by other MVP candidates in Mookie Betts and Freddie Freeman, and this trio has quickly become the most lethal group in the entire league.
Even though they have completed the biggest deal of the offseason, the Dodgers front office still has work to do, and while they may not want to sign anymore big name free agents, they could look to pull off a blockbuster move on the trade market. Starting pitching, bullpen, and the corner outfield spots are still areas of need for LA, so let's look at a pair of trades they could pull off with Ohtani officially on board.
Corbin Burnes has been involved in trade rumors with the Milwaukee Brewers for over a year now, and this could finally be the offseason when he finds a new home. The Brewers failed to retain former manager Craig Counsell, so they could decide it's time to undergo a rebuild. If that ends up being Milwaukee's course of action, they will have a lot of talented players headed elsewhere, with Burnes being the gem of the bunch.
Burnes is a former Cy Young award winner, National League strikeout leader, and three-time All-Star, so if the Dodgers really want to cement their status as the team to beat in the MLB right now, adding Burnes would make a lot of sense. Clayton Kershaw's status for the 2024 campaign is still up in the air, and Walker Buehler is returning from Tommy John surgery. Even with the Ohtani acquisition, fortifying their pitching staff must be a priority because he will not be pitching in 2024 after undergoing surgery on his throwing elbow.
Beyond Kershaw and Buehler, Julio Urias is almost certainly not going to return after his domestic violence arrest at the end of the 2023 campaign, and Tony Gonsolin will miss the entire 2024 campaign after undergoing Tommy John surgery at the end of August. Burnes is the perfect ace for a squad that has legitimate World Series aspirations. LA has several enticing young assets to send to Milwaukee, although picking him up may be more difficult now that the Brewers have shown interest in keeping Burnes on their roster.
Jason Heyward was recently re-signed for another year after a stellar 2023 campaign, meaning that he is likely set to reclaim his job in right field, and James Outman will stick in center field. However, out in left field there's no clear-cut answer on who will get the nod. Chris Taylor tentatively seems like the guy right now, or they could go swing a blockbuster deal for Randy Arozarena.
The Tampa Bay Rays have been adamant in keeping their payroll at a low number, so when someone of Arozarena's skillset wants a new deal, the Rays typically decide to trade that player and pick up some younger players in return. Arozarena would be a wonderful acquisition to put on left field, as he is one of the most efficient players at the position. His prowess is not only on the defensive side of the field, but Arozarena has the lethal combination of being a mammoth hitter and speedy runner.
The top three hitters in the Dodgers lineup would still be Ohtani, Betts, and Freeman, but having Arozarena as your fourth-best hitter would be quite the luxury, wouldn't it. Arozarena's ability to elevate his game in the postseason has been very evident through his career as well, especially in the 2020 MLB Playoffs. Arozarena is not afraid of the bright lights, and that could be the last missing piece of the puzzle for Los Angeles and their championship hopes.