Shohei Ohtani is a Los Angeles Dodger. Saturday afternoon, Ohtani announced he is leaving the Los Angeles Angels and heading up the 5 to join the Dodgers on a mammoth 10-year, $700 million contract. Even with significant deferrals, it is a staggering contract. It's the richest in sports history and not by a little bit either.

Ohtani, who is still only 29, led the American League with 44 home runs this season while also throwing 132 innings with a 3.14 ERA. That earned him his second unanimous AL MVP award. Now he'll join a star-studded Dodgers team that won 100 games this year and will surround him with similar Hall of Fame talent. Ohtani couldn't have landed in a better place.

With that in mind, let's take a look at what Dodgers manager Dave Roberts could do with his lineup next season, and also with his rotation in 2025, when Ohtani is expected to return to the mound.

2024 lineup

Shohei Ohtani
LAD • DH • #17
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The Dodgers averaged 5.59 runs per game this past season, second behind the Atlanta Braves (5.85), and that was with J.D. Martinez having a strong season at DH. Martinez was very good -- .271/.321/.572 with 33 home runs -- but he is not Ohtani. The Dodgers have several platoons in place, so here are the lineups Roberts could employ with Ohtani:

vs. RHPvs. LHP

1. 2B Mookie Betts, RHB

1. RF Mookie Betts, RHB

2. DH Shohei Ohtani, LHB

2. DH Shohei Ohtani, LHB

3. 1B Freddie Freeman, LHB

3. 1B Freddie Freeman, LHB

4. C Will Smith, RHB

4. C Will Smith, RHB

5. 3B Max Muncy, LHB

5. 3B Max Muncy, LHB

6. RF Jason Heyward, LHB

6. LF Chris Taylor, RHB

7. LF Chris Taylor, RHB

7. 2B Miguel Vargas, RHB

8. CF James Outman, LHB

8. SS Miguel Rojas, RHB

9. SS Gavin Lux, LHB

9. CF James Outman, LHB

This past season, the Dodgers essentially platooned Heyward initially with Vargas, then with trade deadline addition Amed Rosario. Mookie's versatility allowed them to platoon a corner outfielder with a second baseman. Betts will remain the team's most of the time second baseman moving forward, Roberts confirmed at the Winter Meetings

As for Ohtani, he will slot into the No. 2 lineup spot nicely. Ohtani and Freeman hitting back-to-back will invite the opposing manager to use a lefty reliever, but both hit lefties well, so that's not a major concern. The Dodgers could also bat Ohtani leadoff -- he's done that before -- and slot Betts between Ohtani and Freeman to avoid back-to-back lefties.

The 1-2-3 is the best in the game no matter the order. Smith and Muncy in the 4-5 spots are no joke either. Things get a little uncertain after that. Can Heyward repeat what he did this year? Can Outman avoid those prolonged slumps? How will Lux perform in his first season back from a torn ACL? That top of the lineup allows the Dodgers to be patient as they answer those questions in the bottom half.

2025 rotation

Shohei Ohtani
LAD • DH • #17
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The rotation is where it gets interesting and where the Dodgers have the most work to do this offseason and moving forward. Their rotation fell apart late this year -- their three starters allowed 13 runs in 4 2/3 innings in the Division Series loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks -- and Ohtani will not pitch in 2024 after his recent elbow surgery.

With Ohtani signed, the Dodgers will now shift their focus to the rotation, and that could affect their 2025 rotation outlook at well. As things stand, this is the club's 2025 rotation depth chart using only players currently under contract or team control:

  1. RHP Shohei Ohtani (returning from elbow surgery)
  2. RHP Bobby Miller
  3. RHP Tony Gonsolin (returning from Tommy John surgery)
  4. RHP Dustin May (returning from flexor tendon surgery)
  5. RHP Ryan Pepiot
  6. RHP Emmet Sheehan
  7. RHP Gavin Stone
  8. RHP Michael Grove

Walker Buehler will be back in the rotation next year after missing 2023 with his second Tommy John surgery, though that is his final season of team control. He'll be a free agent next offseason. I have to think re-signing Buehler will be on the table as long as next season goes well and the two sides can find common ground on a contract.

Otherwise there are three pitchers returning from major surgeries -- May is expected to return in the middle of next season, Ohtani and Gonsolin won't pitch in 2024 -- and a lot of young kids. They won't be so inexperienced come 2025, but they will still be young, and young pitchers often require workload limits. The Dodgers have so many young arms that a few should stick as starters.

The Dodgers also have so many young arms that they could trade one or two (or more) for a more established pitcher with multiple years of control, like, say, Dylan Cease. That would change the 2025 rotation outlook. As it stands though, the Dodgers need to upgrade their rotation, both in 2024 and also around Ohtani in 2025.