“Is it realistic to spend $500 million on a designated hitter?”
The Los Angeles Dodgers are in the driver’s seat for Shohei Ohtani (29, free agent). Many U.S. media outlets summarized the market surrounding Ohtani on Thursday, nailing it once again. However, MLB.com had a slightly different take.
It argued that the Dodgers, or any team, should think hard about whether Ohtani is worth $500 million. The Dodgers were linked to Ohtani on the same day as they outlined their top five offseason priorities. However, he expressed concern about Ohtani’s performance as a pitcher.
MLB.com wrote, “The problem is that Ohtani won’t pitch in 2024. There are also concerns about how he’ll look when he returns to the mound in 2025, coming off a second major elbow surgery. If his pitching falters in any way, is it realistic to invest $500 million in a designated hitter? It’s something that teams will have to think about this winter.”
Ohtani was projected to sign a $600 million-plus contract before he underwent elbow surgery. Even after he underwent surgery and was ruled out for the 2024 season, the consensus was that he would still get a $500 million deal.
While Ohtani’s agency did not clarify the exact name of the surgery, most American media outlets believe he underwent Tommy John surgery. This is further reinforced by the fact that Dr. Nick Ellatrache of the Kellan-Johnson Clinic in Los Angeles reportedly performed the surgery. Dr. Ellatrache is currently the leading authority on Tommy John surgery.
Ohtani had one Tommy John surgery in 2018, the year he entered the major leagues. The idea behind the $500 million skepticism is that if he’s had two Tommy John surgeries since coming to the U.S., it could jeopardize his future as a pitcher.안전놀이터
Ohtani can play the outfield, but his main role in the majors has been as a designated hitter. If he can’t pitch, or if he doesn’t have a long run of success, he’s likely to become more of a designated hitter in the future, and $500 million is a lot of money for a player like that.
In fact, Bleacher Report recently put Ohtani’s fair value in free agency at eight years and $320 million. That’s a lower total than Aaron Judge’s (New York Yankees, 9 years, $360 million), but the average annualized value is the same at $40 million. All in all, there is a lot of interest in the size of Ohtani’s contract this winter. Ohtani’s arm condition is a factor that could shake up the entire free agent market. Ohtani’s agency hasn’t spoken to the media about his physical condition recently.