The Los Angeles Dodgers have finished with 100-plus wins in each of the last three seasons, yet they've been bounced out earlier than expected in the postseason, twice in the NLDS and once in the NLCS. So what's missing from such a talented team? Could Shohei Ohtani be the lone answer they've been looking for this entire time?

It goes without saying that Ohtani could probably be the answer to a lot of MLB teams that have struggled either getting to the playoffs or deep in the postseason. Ohtani's free agency has been the talk of baseball going back all the way to the beginning of the 2023 season. His generational talent is just that and something that could make a team an instant contender, merely from his bat alone. And that's what the Dodgers and everyone else are going to have to mull over this offseason as they set their sights on Ohtani – his bat and not his pitching and how that should effect or not effect his price tag.

The Dodgers signing Shohei Ohtani would further prove their want to win

Shohei Ohtani in Dodgers uniform

At least for the 2024 season, any team that forks out the dough to acquire Ohtani's services is going to be without his impressive arm, which is essentially what made him so dynamic to begin with. No one, not even Babe Ruth against the likes of modern-day comparisons, had the talent of Ohtani to where he could pitch and hit so effectively.

So where does that leave a team like the Dodgers, who are said to be one of if not the favorite to sign Ohtani?

Since 2013, when the Dodgers began their recent run, they've made the playoffs every year, winning 90-plus to 100-plus games (43-17 during the Covid season) and have three World Series appearances but only one title. But that title is smeared by an asterisk, though through no fault of their own but the circumstances of the times when the world was trying to figure out how to handle the pandemic.

It's still technically a World Series title, and all those players got their respective championship rings, but this team has been too good for too long during the regular season to just have one championship coming in the form of a shortened 60-game season. The Dodgers, manager Dave Roberts, and the president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman have a lot to prove to this franchise still.

That's why this winter, the Dodgers and Friedman should make a full-court press to acquire Ohtani. While bringing in Ohtani's services by no means guarantees a championship, it certainly doesn't hurt the Dodgers' chances. If nothing else, Ohtani would be the greatest marketed player in baseball, finally in the right Los Angeles uniform.

Would the Dodgers be willing to commit to such a lucrative Shohei Ohtani contract?

Shohei Ohtani, Freddie Freeman and Mookie Betts in Dodgers uniforms

But as we all know, the price tag won't be cheap for the Japanese star. Somehow, even with the tear to his UCL that will cause him not to be able to pitch in 2024, he still has him making north of $400 million.

We also know that the Dodgers have never been one to cheaply spend either. Over the last 11 seasons, they've ranked in the top-5 in MLB in payroll, while going over the luxury tax threshold in the last three. But now there's nearly $100 million off the books thanks to Clayton Kershaw and Julio Urias' contract expired. Only retaining six players with a club option for next season, the team now has just $130 million commitments, according to Jack Harris of the Los Angeles Times. Was this done for Ohtani?

For whatever reason, under Friedman, the likes of Bryce Harper and Gerrit Cole they were outbid for, and Corey Seager and Trea Turner were simply left to wander into free agency. Sure, the Freddie Freeman and Mookie Betts deals have worked so far, but even those came off bargain deals, relatively speaking to the rest of the sport. The splashy signing, the most expensive signing, the historic signing, is Ohtani.

The Dodgers looked to have done their due diligence in clearing up room on the books to make what will undoubtedly be the biggest financial decision in Dodgers history. That would go for anyone who wants to sign Ohtani. This feels too much like a perfect scenario for the Dodgers and Ohtani, though. One, in that it would be a seamless transition going from downtown Anaheim to Chavez Ravine. Also, Ohtani will have more than just a seemingly always injured Mike Trout surrounding him in the lineup with the Dodgers in the likes of Freeman, Betts, and others.

The biggest question that the Dodgers will have to face in luring Ohtani (besides money) is that are they really a championship-caliber team? The Dodgers are going to have to find some pitching this winter (per The Athletic), as that was one reason they had such a dreadful postseason in 2023. One thing is for sure, they can't rely on Ohtani for that in 2024.