Shohei Ohtani puts on a Dodgers cap and uniform during his introductory news conference at Dodgers Stadium.
The Los Angeles Dodgers had one of the most historic offseasons in the history of Major League Baseball ahead of the 2024 season with the signing of Shohei Ohtani, a two-time American League MVP and a three-time ESPY Best Major League Baseball Player Award recipient. Ohtani, a recently acquired 29-year-old superstar pitcher and designated hitter from the Los Angeles Angels, originally came to the United States in 2017 and is now baseball’s highest-paid player in its entire two-hundred-year history with a new contract totaling $700 million over a ten-year period. The historic and legendary franchise of the LA Dodgers, already loaded with superstar talent with household names such as Mookie Betts and Freddie Freeman, looks to begin yet another season as one of the top teams in the MLB. However, considering what happened with the New York Mets last season and their ultimate collapse with similar superstar talent, is it too early to say that the Dodgers will run the MLB next season?
The Dodgers ended their season last year with a 100-62 record and sat atop the NL West before they lost three straight games in the NLDS to the Arizona Diamondbacks and were quickly eliminated from World Series contention. One of the biggest weaknesses of last year's Dodgers team was health in their starting pitching rotation. The team saw starters such as Dustin May, Clayton Kershaw, Walker Buehler, and Tony Gonsolin leave the team debilitated and weak from the pitching aspect. After signing another Japanese superstar in Yoshinobu Yamamoto this offseason in addition to Shohei Ohtani, the Dodgers look primed to make a big comeback in 2024 with the additions of two Japanese superstars capable of playing the one and the two in the starting rotation. With Dustin May and Walker Buehler coming back from injury, this Dodgers rotation could be one of the scariest that baseball has seen in recent history.
Offensively, the Dodgers have been known to have a powerful group of hitters capable of getting on base and driving in runs. Mookie Betts led the team offensively as he slashed for a .307 average with 39 home runs and 107 RBIs, and fellow teammate Freddie Freeman contributed substantially as well, hitting for an impressive .331 average and 102 RBIs. The Dodgers will get yet another powerful batter in Shohei Ohtani, a player who can seemingly just do it all. After hitting an outstanding 44 home runs last season with a .304 average, Shohei looks primed to help propel this Dodgers offense to a new dimension.
It may be too early to say, but the addition of Shohei Ohtani to an already-loaded Los Angeles Dodgers team gives them the early edge in preseason power rankings and has them as my favorites to win the 2024 World Series.