Wednesday, May 22, 2024

The Sho Must Go On


13 home runs, 33 RBIs, a .353 average, a 3.1 WAR, 67 hits and 11 steals. And the betting thing has quieted down. Hell of a recovery year for Shohei Ohtani.

The Dodgers signed Ohtani to this mega deal knowing he was still in his prime, and even if he left his prime years he'd still give them production, star power and effort. They figured there'd be huge years ahead when they signed him, and this is exactly the kind of stuff they were hoping for. Ohtani has been a big piece of the lineup, has given glorious power numbers, and joins Mookie Betts and Freddie Freeman in having more hits than games played. And it's gotta be so weird for Freddie Freeman to be hitting .298 with 29 RBIs and 13 doubles and not even be in the top three most crucial producers for this team.

So the topic is coming around now, 'hey, Ohtani's so good in the batter's box right now, so why even have him return to pitching next year?'. And uh...have you SEEN the Dodgers' pitching situation? They are SO lucky they've managed to get five working options right now, because for a while they were all dropping like flies. Gavin Stone and James Paxton have to be so relieved they're working out right now, because if not the Dodgers might be forced to start Ryan Yarbrough. Kershaw, Gonsolin, May and Miller are all out, and after this season Buehler, Paxton, Kershaw and possibly even May [I mean, I'd cut a guy that's never played a full season for me] will be gone. So just saying 'you know that really good pitcher you just signed for 10 years? Maybe he never has to pitch again' is the kind of nearsighted buffoonery that shouldn't be validated. Just put it in the corner with all the articles about how Trevor Bauer thinks he can strike out the Yankees or how bad umpiring is good actually.

Ohtani shouldn't be encouraged to stop pitching, at least not yet. If he's able to next year, he should take as many starts as he wants. Back in the day he'd take extra days between starts all the time. Angels promotions would be set up specifically to get people to Shohei starts, and then after the tickets had been sold they'd go 'heyyyy uhhhh so ABOUT THAT..'. The Dodgers don't have that issue, they can sell tickets. So even if Shohei isn't pitching, people will come to games. And I think once he gets back to the mound he'll win another MVP or two with the Dodgers, which I'M guessing they want. 

The Dodgers, even with some pitching woes, have become one of the best teams in baseball, and they've done so thanks to Shohei Ohtani not solely standing out but fitting in with the lineup and making an unstoppable tag team with Mookie Betts. So far, so good. Let's see how it goes as we get further in.

Coming Tonight: I'll be in the Bronx, but I'll be able to write up some counterprogramming on an AL East team that ISN'T all that it's cracked up to be.

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