There were a lot of rumors, but this was the most likely team. And that’s exactly what happened. The Los Angeles Dodgers have acquired “two-way star” Shohei Ohtani, 29. It’s a signing that set the world on fire. Two years ago, it might have been difficult.

“I chose the Dodgers as my next team,” Ohtani announced on social media on Tuesday. I will never forget the six years I spent with the Angels. I will do my best for the Dodgers and strive to be the best I can be.”

The size of the contract is shocking. It’s a 10-year, $700 million contract. According to local reports, it includes a deferred payment clause. Even with that in mind, $700 million is definitely a “new world” deal.

Let’s turn back the clock. Two years ago, the Dodgers’ Ohtani might have been difficult. There was no designated hitter system.

Major League Baseball is divided into the American League and the National League. The American League introduced the designated hitter system in 1973. As a result, pitchers rarely came to bat.

Not so the National League. It continued to operate without a designated hitter. The pitcher had to bat. This trend was broken in the 2020 season. The league was downsized due to the coronavirus, and the designated hitter system was implemented temporarily.

It disappeared again in 2021. Then, as part of the new labor agreement after the season, the National League agreed to adopt the designated hitter system. It wasn’t without opposition, but the consensus was that it was necessary to protect pitchers. Over the past two seasons, it’s been implemented with little fanfare.

This led to the Dodgers’ Ohtani. While we can’t say it was solely because of the designated hitter, it was a factor in Ohtani’s choice of National League team.

Ohtani is often referred to as a “two-way player,” but he’s actually a “three-way player. He throws and bats as a pitcher, but he can also play outfield defense when he’s not pitching. With this in mind, you don’t need to be a designated hitter to use Ohtani.

However, it’s much better to keep him as a designated hitter when it comes to fitness and injury prevention. In fact, Ohtani has been a designated hitter for most of his career. He recently won the Edgar Martinez Award for the best designated hitter for the third straight year.

It’s not like the Dodgers are so short on outfielders that they have to use Ohtani in the outfield. The Dodgers also signed outfielder Jason Heyward, an internal free agent, to a one-year, $9 million deal.

The Dodgers have tried to get Ohtani in the past. They’ve been interested in Ohtani since his freshman year of high school. They tried to sign him as a high school senior. The Dodgers wanted him as a pitcher. Ohtani wanted to be a two-hitter, and a deal was never reached.

Ohtani had already proven that he was the best of both worlds. There was no reason for the Dodgers to hesitate. With a designated hitter system, it was a no-brainer. So, they took a chance on Ohtani.


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