Dodgers Free Agency Rumors: Shohei Ohtani Key Reason Behind Avoiding Luxury Tax For 2023

The MLB Winter Meetings produced a flurry of activity that saw many of the top free agents find homes for the 2023 season. Among those who reportedly agreed to terms on a new contract were Aaron Judge, Justin Verlander, Trea Turner and Xander Bogaerts.

The Los Angeles Dodgers were connected to each player at various points in the offseason but did not wind up with any of them. Some of the club’s fallback options have also come off the board, including Kevin Kiermaier, who decided to sign with the Toronto Blue Jays.

To this point, the Dodgers have re-signed Clayton Kershaw while adding Shelby Miller and Jason Heyward. With most of the big free agents no longer available to sign, L.A. may have to settle for modest additions this winter.

According to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, the Dodgers are believed to be operating with some restraint in order to save their financial resources for a potential Shohei Ohtani pursuit next year:

That way, the Dodgers could save the big money for the player they truly want — the biggest free agent in next year’s class, Shohei Ohtani.

Ohtani is entering his final season of team control after avoiding arbitration with the Los Angeles Angels by signing a one-year, $30 million contract.

The two-way star is coming off another stellar season in which he hit .273/.356/.519 with 30 doubles, six triples, 34 home runs, 95 RBI and 11 stolen bases across 157 games.

Ohtani also thrived on the mound, going 15-9 with a 2.33 ERA, 2.40 FIP, 1.01 WHIP and 11.9 strikeouts per nine in 166 innings pitched (28 starts).

Assuming the 28-year-old reaches free agency, he will be in line to sign the largest contract in MLB history, and the Dodgers could be the team that makes it happen.

Dodgers had interest in Shohei Ohtani at 2022 MLB trade deadline

The Dodgers reportedly were among the teams that expressed interest in Ohtani at the 2022 trade deadline, but talks did not advance far.

When Ohtani made the jump to MLB, he met with and considered signing with the Dodgers before ultimately picking the Angels.

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