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MLB Notebook: League announces top prospects Spring Breakout Showcase, Ohtani contract features opt-out clause, and more

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Photo credit:Brendon Baranov/MiLB.com
Ryley Delaney
4 months ago
You could call this MLB Notebook the L.A. Dodgers Notebook, as it seems they’re the only teams making transactions right now.
The hot stove isn’t scorching just yet, as there has only been one major signing from the free agent market. Let’s start with some non-Dodger news to kick off this MLB Notebook and then get into some Shohei Ohtani stuff. 

Spring Breakout:

For prospect watchers like me, this is awesome. It was announced on Wednesday that the league was introducing a small event in the middle of March where every team’s top prospects will play against another team’s top prospects. This is an attempt to market minor leaguers better.
The big question is, who’ll play for the Blue Jays? You’d expect top prospects like Ricky Tiedemann and Orelvis Martinez to participate for the Blue Jays, as well as other upper-minors players such as Spencer Horwitz and Addison Barger. But what about their weaker positions, such as catcher and centre field? Alan Roden enjoyed a breakout season in 2023 and Dasan Brown had a huge season for the High-A Vancouver Canadians. 

Shohei Ohtani does have an opt-out:

More details about the unique contract that Shohei Ohtani signed with the Dodgers are starting to come out. We learned about all of the money deferrals on the weekend and it has also been reported that Ohtani can opt out of his contract if certain front office executives are let go from their roles.
It’s difficult to see either losing their job at any point in the future, as they’ve made the playoffs in each season for a decade now and show no signs of slowing down. Furthermore, they do a fantastic job of drafting and aren’t afraid to spend money.
Still, it hasn’t translated into a tremendous amount of post-season success. The Dodgers’ only World Series Championship during the Friedman era came when they came out on top after the pandemic-shortened 2020 season. There’s an argument to be made that they deserved to win in 2017, as well, though. 

Ohtani jersey sales break records:

While it’s to be seen whether Ohtani lives up to his contract on the field, he’s already living up to it off the field. Per MLB’s Twitter, Ohtani’s Dodger jersey breaks the Fanatics record for most sales over the first 48 hours for a jersey.
As you know, Ohtani underwent surgery to repair his UCL for the second time in his career. If he can’t regain his pitching form, the Dodgers are essentially paying him the largest contract in the sport’s history to designate hit.
Still, the deferrals in the contract, as well as the revenue that he’ll bring in, will make the contract well worth it.

Dodgers willing to spend big… again:

The Athletic reported on Wednesday, stating that Yoshinobu Yamamoto met with the Dodgers the previous day. Present at the meeting were Mookie Betts, Freddie Freeman, Will Smith (the catcher, not the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air), and the newly-signed Ohtani. The Dodgers and Yankees are seen as the co-favourites to land the 25-year-old ace. 
Los Angeles is looking to spend this off-season, and their biggest need is starting pitching. They’re already in talks with the Tampa Bay Rays about Tyler Glasnow (as well as Manuel Margot), but adding Yamamoto will help push them over the edge. It also helps that the 25-year-old Japanese ace cheered for the Dodgers while growing up.

Former Blue Jay Daniel Hudson inks minor-league deal with Dodgers:

Per Jeff Passan, the Dodgers are signing Daniel Hudson to a minor league deal and will make $2 million if he makes the team, plus another potential $2 million.
The 36-year-old only pitched three innings with the Dodgers in 2023, but had a successful 2022 where he had a 2.22 ERA and a 2.04 FIP in 24.1 innings pitched, along with a 30.9 K% and a 5.2 BB%.
Hudson had a brief tenure with the Blue Jays in 2019, posting a 3 ERA and a 4.19 FIP in 48 innings pitched, before being traded to the eventual World Series Champions, the Washington Nationals. In fact, he got the final out.
A fun bit of trivia here, as the Nationals sent back right-handed pitcher Kyle Johnston. The 27-year-old was released by the Jays in June and finished his season with the Rockies, where he had a 7.23 ERa and an 8.29 FIP in 18 2/3 innings pitched. He is currently a free agent.

As always, you can follow me on Twitter, Instagram, and Threads @Brennan_L_D.

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