The signings of Shohei Ohtani and Yoshinobu Yamamoto, arguably the top two free agents this offseason, had a polarizing effect. Many within the industry joined the Dodgers’ organization and its fans in cheering the concentration of star power in a major market. Others painted the Dodgers as baseball’s new villains.
Love it or hate it, the reunion of the two WBC teammates in Los Angeles is upon us. Yamamoto and Ohtani should help Los Angeles contend for World Series titles for years.
Among the more vocal critics of the signings: San Diego Padres starting pitcher and former Dodger Yu Darvish.
Darvish broke his silence on the signings recently, and he seemed frustrated that the two Japanese players decided to join the Dodgers. His frustration seemed pointed more at his own organization. Specifically, he named Padres president of baseball operations A.J. Preller in his critique.
San Diego wasn’t a major player in the sweepstakes for either free agent despite Darvish’s plea. After spending their way to baseball’s third-highest payroll in 2023, the Padres needed to cut back in order to align their player payroll with MLB’s debt service rule. Still, for Darvish, it’s understandably difficult to stomach seeing two countrymen head to a direct rival.
If Preller and Darvish spoke about the team going after these two this winter, it’s not a good look on the Padres. Darvish knows first-hand how talented each of these players is, and now he will have to face them until — in theory — the end of his major league career.
Of course, the Dodgers are absolutely ecstatic that they landed the top two free agents on the open market. After sitting out last offseason, L.A. came into this winter with a plan, and they have executed it perfectly so far.
The Dodgers-Padres rivalry should be more interesting going forward in light of Darvish’s comments. The two sides already weren’t the biggest fans of each other, and now the season-opening series in Korea can’t come soon enough.
Photo Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports
Have you subscribed to our YouTube Channel yet? Subscribe and hit that notification bell to stay up to date on all the latest Dodgers news, rumors, interviews, live streams, and more!