Dodgers Team News

Shohei Ohtani News: Dodgers Free Agent Target Won’t Pitch in 2024, Expected to Return to Mound in 2025

In a move that’s long been anticipated concerning the best free agent MLB has ever seen, Shohei Ohtani has at last announced on his social media page that he’s gotten an elbow procedure done in preparation for next season.

Joining Ohtani in announcing the move were the Angels through their superstar’s agent, stating that the procedure was successful, but would keep him sidelined from pitching in 2024.

Though some might speculate what type of contract Ohtani could fetch on the open market, not being able to pitch next season takes away the two-way ability that makes him so mesmerizing as a player.

While still a dominant power hitter, evidenced by him leading the AL in home runs despite not playing in the past 20 or so games for the Halos, his ace-level pitching makes him truly unprecedented.

Some wondered if Ohtani would reset the market with a new deal worth north of $50 million per season, but such an outcome may not occur in the long term due to the uncertainty surrounding his pitching future.

Ensured to continue his amazing two-way ability, teams willing to pay the Japanese superstar for his talents will only get one side of his skills in their lineup as a designated hitter in 2024 rather than a starting pitcher in addition to his powerful bat.

If anyone could afford his services, it’d be the Dodgers, set to have several impending free agents and a significantly lower payroll as they’ve had in recent seasons.

Though it may come at the expense of J.D. Martinez’s expiring one-year contract that’s been an absolute steal for LA, Ohtani’s age and statistical advantage over the older veteran make more sense for the Dodgers in 2024.

Even if Ohtani opts for a shorter term deal to show his stuff as a hitter, the Dodgers could take advantage of the situation and improve their World Series chances in 2024.

Also, come 2025, he’s expected to be right back on the mound.

Photo Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

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