Superstar hitter, runner, pitcher extraordinaire Shohei Ohtani is no longer a free agent.
Despite the best efforts from the fine front offices of the Toronto Blue Jays, Los Angeles Angels, Seattle Mariners, San Francisco Giants, and elsewhere, it was the Los Angeles Dodgers who predictably ponied up the gargantuan sum to sign the two-way superstar, inking him to a record-smashing 10-year, $700 million contract Saturday afternoon.
I believe Joey Votto’s reaction to the news was the best:
I chortled out loud in a shop. Person asked if I was ok.— Joey Votto (@JoeyVotto) December 9, 2023
Rumors flew yesterday that Ohtani was going to sign with the Blue Jays, but that obviously proved to be untrue. Now, he’ll head to a Dodger club that boasts fellow future Hall of Famers atop the order in Mookie Betts and Freddie Freeman as they appear to be set to light the baseball world on fire for the foreseeable future.
Votto, meanwhile, might just end up a fall-back option for the Jays as they look for a DH. Quite the fall-back option, indeed.
While this does not directly have anything to do with the Cincinnati Reds, who were surely priced out of any attempt at signing Ohtani early, this should thaw the free agent market considerably. Even though Ohtani won’t pitch in 2024 as he recovers from Tommy John surgery, he was still perhaps both the best bat and best arm available in free agency this winter for the long-term, and his signing now has every other team turning their eyes to every other pitcher and hitter out there. That is where the Reds come in, as the market should unfreeze in the very, very near future.