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The Fallout of Shohei Ohtani Signing with the Dodgers

Cam looks at the different emotions that fans and fantasy baseball players have experienced since the news of Shohei Ohtani signing with the Dodgers.

OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA - SEPTEMBER 03: Shohei Ohtani #17 of the Los Angeles Angels bats against the Oakland Athletics in the top of the first inning at RingCentral Coliseum on September 03, 2023 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

At various points in our lives we have to deal with grief. People speak of stages of grief. There is denial, and anger, and then depression can set in; before ultimately succumbing to acceptance.

For some, the news of Shohei Ohtani signing with the Los Angeles Dodgers was a wonderful occurrence. Of course for his new manager, and teammates, they are ecstatic. The same is true for Dodger fans around the country. 

But for others, this news is devastating. He was linked to the Toronto Blue Jays, with many reports popping up on Friday that it was a foregone conclusion that he would be headed to the great white north. The hopes of a nation were on Ohtani’s shoulders. They are still in the stage of denial, with some transitioning to depression.

There is another group of fans who are absolutely beside themselves…fantasy owners who have Ohtani in their AL-Only keeper leagues. I’m one of them!!! In fairness, all of us who drafted Ohtani this past year knew he was a free agent at the end of the season, and knew this could be a possibility…it doesn’t make it hurt any less.

We’ll have to accept this at some point, but it will definitely take a while. I’m beyond denial at this point, and somewhere between anger and depression. It was bad enough when he was on the West coast, and only seeing a handful of his games. But now that he’s in the NL and still on the West coast, we’ll still only see him for a few games, but they won’t matter.

As they say, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. For all of us pouting former Ohtani owners, there’s a slew of NL-only leagues that are chomping at the bit to draft him. He will singlehandedly change the NL fantasy landscape. If you’re in a NL-only keeper league you may even get him with a small discount. He won’t be pitching in year one of the contract and the jury is still out as to how he bounces back on the mound. Obviously the Dodgers aren’t too worried about it, but your league may be. You won’t save $10, but you may save a few bucks.

But for the Ohtani fantasy owners who just lost him, this hurts. Although Angel fans were holding out hope, they had to know the end was near. But for his fantasy owners, we knew it was a 50/50 situation, and the longer this wore on, believed more and more that he was signing with an AL club…specifically, the Blue Jays. 

In so many ways, they seemed like a perfect fit. He would have owned the country’s baseball fans. The ownership group owns media companies and has deep pockets. He would have been in the AL East. And, the team itself is good. I will be curious to see what Toronto’s final number came in at.

We were told Ohtani enjoyed playing in a dome, even though the Angels play outdoors. But we were also told Ohtani is someone who is a creature of habit, who likes his routine. Short of going back to the Angels, staying in Los Angeles and switching his red uniform for Dodger Blue was really his only option. He gets to stay on the West Coast and play his Spring Training games in Arizona, and he probably won’t even have to move. The news is great for Ohtani, and Dodger fans everywhere, but it’s just awful for the rest of us…hopefully I’ll get to acceptance by Opening Day.