It's officially World Series or bust for the Los Angeles Dodgers. Ok, so it was already World Series or bust for the Dodgers, but now that goal is emphasized with about 100 exclamation points after signing star pitcher and designated hitter Shohei Ohtani.
The blockbuster deal was announced Saturday, when Ohtani posted to his Instagram that he had agreed terms to sign with the Dodgers after he was pursued by the Toronto Blue Jays and San Francisco Giants, among other teams. Ohtani agreed to a 10-year, $700 million deal with the Dodgers, guaranteeing his long term future with the storied franchise.
Now, Ohtani joins a team that has already made the playoffs in every season over the last ten years and has also all but one NL West division title over that span. However, they've won just World Series during this time, back in 2020 when they defeated the Tampa Bay Rays.
The Dodgers had a legitimate chance at getting the win this year, putting up an 100-win season with their 100-62 record, but lost in the National League Division Series to the Arizona Diamondbacks. The early exit was already a disappointment for the Dodgers this season, but something that will be unacceptable with Ohtani on the team.
Now, the Dodgers have one of the best rosters in the MLB. Along with Ohtani, they have 7x All-Stars Mookie Betts and Freddie Freeman, 3x Silver Slugger J.D Martinez, Max Muncy and up-and-comer James Outman. Add in the 2x AL MVP and the reigning AL home run leader in Ohtani, and this should easily be the best team in the MLB next year. With this much talent, they've already become the favorites for the 2024 World Series.
Of course now the Dodgers have to put it all together and stay healthy. Ohtani himself is coming off a surgery to repair a torn UCL, which prematurely cut short his 2023 season. This injury will reportedly keep him from pitching in his first season with the Dodgers, making him a designated hitter for the 2024 campaign.
Still, unless there are a myriad of injuries or unexpected setbacks, there shouldn't be enough for the Dodgers to fall short of a title. More importantly, if the Dodgers don't win with Ohtani, they're also wasting the huge contract they've given out to him. They would already be wasting the opportunity of adding one of the best players to an already great team, but they cannot give out a $700 million contract without winning the title in the future. The contract is the largest in MLB history by over $250 million, making it essential for the Dodgers to win a World Series to not consider all that a waste.