In the end, Shohei Ohtani wound up where he always seemed likely to go. Los Angeles Dodgers, and the terms are staggering: 10 years and $700 million. It's a very complicated contract with significant deferrals, but $700 million takes your breath away. .
With Ohtani joining the Dodgers, here's a look at some notable games coming up on their schedule next season.
Feb. 22: First spring training game
Truth be told, Ohtani might not even play in the first Cactus League game. It's not uncommon for veterans to sit out the first few spring games. Feb. 22 is when the Dodgers will open their exhibition schedule though. This could be the first time we see Ohtani play a game as a Dodger.
March 20-21: Seoul Series
The Dodgers and NL West rival San Diego Padres will open next season with a two-game series in Seoul, South Korea. They will be the first two MLB games ever played in Korea. Ohtani has played in Korea previously, most notably with Japan during the World Baseball Classic this spring. Alas and alack, there will be no Ohtani vs. Juan Soto showdown in Seoul. That meeting will have to wait a few months.
March 28: Dodgers home opener
Congrats to the St. Louis Cardinals. They will be the first team to face Ohtani the Dodger at Dodger Stadium. After the Seoul Series, Los Angeles will begin the domestic portion of its regular season on Thursday, March 28, against St. Louis. That is the first of four games. After the Cardinals, the NL West rival San Francisco Giants -- and reported Ohtani finalist -- come to down for three games.
April 5: Dodgers road opener
Ohtani's first non-Seoul road game as a Dodger will come at Wrigley Field, against a Chicago Cubs teams that pursued him this offseason. Whether the Cubbies every really had a chance is unknown -- $700 million is an awful lot of millions -- but they were reportedly involved in the bidding. Ohtani and Dodgers will show the Cubs what they missed out on early next year.
April 19-21 vs. Mets
Steve Cohen's Mets were also in on Ohtani this offseason, though it sounds like he did not seriously consider the two New York teams, and Mets never did make a formal offer, according to the New York Post. Still, you can sure Cohen wanted Ohtani -- who wouldn't want Shohei? -- and they didn't get him. They'll see him in Dodger Stadium in the season's first month next year. Ohtani and the Dodgers will then visit Citi Field from May 27-29.
April 26-28 at Blue Jays
Just about every team that was in on Ohtani this offseason will see him early next year. The Giants, the Cubs, the Mets, and now the Blue Jays. Ohtani and the Dodgers will visit Rogers Centre for a three-game weekend series from April 26-28. My guess is the Toronto faithful will boo Ohtani like he's never been booed before. It comes with the territory. As Reggie Jackson said, they don't boo nobodies.
May 3-5 vs. Braves
The Braves were loosely connected to Ohtani this offseason though it never seemed like they were a serious bidder. Regardless, the Braves and Dodgers were the two best teams in the National League this past season and there is every reason to believe they will be among the two best teams in the league next year. This series will feature Ohtani, Mookie Betts, and Freddie Freeman vs. Ronald Acuna Jr., Matt Olson, and Austin Riley. Fun fun fun.
June 7-9 at Yankees
Ohtani vs. Soto at Yankee Stadium. The cheapest ticket will probably be in the $12,000 range. OK, I'm kidding (I hope), but this will be the most star-studded series of the 2024 regular season. It's Ohtani and Betts and Freeman against Soto and Aaron Judge and Gerrit Cole. Circle it on your calendar.
June 11-13 vs. Rangers
The defending World Series champion Rangers will visit Ohtani and the Dodgers at Dodger Stadium in mid June next season. Even if Clayton Kershaw does leave the Dodgers for his hometown Rangers (I'll believe it when I see it), he is unlikely to be ready to pitch this series following his recent shoulder surgery. Could you imagine Kershaw the Ranger vs. Ohtani the Dodger? Goodness.
June 21-22 vs. Angels
For the first time in his career, Ohtani will face the Angels on June 21 and 22. The first leg of the Freeway Series is at Dodger Stadium next year and, weirdly, this is a Friday and Saturday series. There's no game Sunday. The two teams are off that day. Huh.
July 15-16: Home Run Derby and All-Star Game
Will Ohtani be there? Almost certainly. The All-Star festivities will take place at Globe Life Field next season, home of the defending World Series champion Texas Rangers. Count on Ohtani being among those voted into the game.
Sept. 3-4 at Angels
The Angel Stadium leg of the Freeway Series will not take place until September. It's to bad we have to wait that long. Bad job by the schedule-makers (I kid, I kid, it's a tough job). These two games will be Ohtani's first two games at Angel Stadium as a visiting player. Anything other than a rousing ovation would be a shame. Direct the boos at the ownership and front office that failed to build a winning team around Ohtani and Mike Trout all those years.