MLB Power Rankings: Why Dodgers aren’t quite No. 1 yet with Shohei Ohtani, Yankees look strong with Juan Soto

The offseason is far from over and the 2024 Major League Baseball season is much further from starting up. There have been a decent number of signings, some trades and a few of those moves are filed in the “seismic shift” category. That means it’s acceptable to fire up the ol’ Power Rankings machine.

Shohei Ohtani signing with the Dodgers is the move of the offseason, obviously. It’s incredible the star power the Dodgers have now with Mookie Betts, Freddie Freeman and Ohtani in their lineup. I’m sure many people will be expecting to see them atop the rankings now and we’ll get to that in a second.

The list of players who could upstage the trade of a 25-year-old slugger on a Hall of Fame track is incredibly low. In fact, it might only be one, but Ohtani is the top name in the sport. Still, don’t get too distracted to notice Juan Soto switching coasts and heading back East to one of baseball’s marquee franchises in the Yankees (it’s probably the marquee franchise, but I don’t feel like having that argument right now).

Those will be the two biggest splashes made this offseason.

As for the rankings, we can only rank the teams as currently constructed. To illustrate how tough this is, I’ll use my favorite team: I fully expect the Cubs to grab at least one bat and probably two in addition to trying for a frontline starting pitcher. They haven’t added any of that, though, so I’m only ranking where the roster is right now, not where I think (hope?) it’ll end up.

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And that brings us back to the Dodgers. They won 100 games and added Ohtani, so they obviously have to be the No. 1 team, right? Eh, let’s settle down a bit. Ohtani can’t pitch in 2024 and these are power rankings for 2024. Further, last season’s Dodgers DH was J.D. Martinez and he had a damn fine season. Ohtani is better, no question. In fact, if we just took WAR (and you really shouldn’t project things out this way, I’m only doing it to make a point), Ohtani was worth 4.1 wins more than Martinez last season. That would, in theory, push the Dodgers to 104 wins.

But.

Yeah, there is a but and it’s an incredibly reasonable one: Look at the Dodgers’ rotation right now.

Walker Buehler (coming off Tommy John surgery) and Bobby Miller are the written-in-pen guys. Ryan Pepiot at age 26 could stick, but he only has 78 1/3 career MLB innings. That still would only get the Dodgers to 60% of their rotation. Emmet Sheehan has flashed some promise. Past him, would they turn to Gavin Stone? Or veteran lefty Ryan Yarbrough, who has a career 4.74 ERA as a starter.

I have no doubt the Dodgers are not going to stop with Ohtani and will grab at least two starting pitchers. They just haven’t yet and I’m ranking the current rosters. As constructed, the Dodgers do not have the best team in baseball.

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