Mookie Betts, Freddie Freeman and now Shohei Ohtani. Yes, that’s the gauntlet pitchers will have to face when they go up against the Dodgers in 2024.
Ohtani signed a colossal 10-year, $700 million contract with Los Angeles on Saturday, shattering records and giving the Dodgers an unbelievable top of the lineup for next season and beyond. The two-time MVP chose the Dodgers over the Blue Jays and others, inking a contract that includes “unprecedented deferrals.”
While signing Ohtani has plenty to do with building the Dodgers’ brand and reaching a different market of fans, make no mistake that anything short of a championship would be considered a disappointment in 2024. It’s rare to have such accomplished bats in any major-league lineup, to the point that Los Angeles is flirting with history with its MVP trio.
Here’s what you need to know about where the Dodgers’ three-MVP lineup stacks up with some of the most loaded in history.
Most MVPs in a lineup
The Dodgers will be dangerous in 2024, but the record for most MVPs in a single lineup sits at four. Both the 1978 Reds and 1982 Angels boasted four MVPs in one lineup, and that record remains unbroken despite the Dodgers coming pretty close in recent years.
Here’s a closer look at how the Reds’ MVPs broke down in 1978.
|1978 Reds MVPs
The 1982 Angels’ four MVP each had only one such award to their name.
|1982 Angels MVPs
2024 won’t even be the first season in this decade that the Dodgers have had three MVPs in the same lineup.
The Dodgers boasted three MVPs in their lineup in both 2021 and 2022. Betts, Cody Bellinger and Albert Pujols, who was signed midseason, were all Dodgers in 2021, with Pujols bringing three MVP awards to the table himself.
Pujols joined the Cardinals in 2022, but the arrival of Freddie Freeman paired with Betts and Bellinger kept the total at three. Los Angeles was down to only two MVP bats in 2023 after Bellinger was non-tendered, but Ohtani now restores the mark heading into 2024.
MORE SHOHEI OHTANI COVERAGE
Notably, all three MVPs in the Dodgers’ lineup won the award with a different team. Ohtani won both of his MVPs with the Angels, while Betts won with the Red Sox and Freeman won with the Braves. Bellinger (2019) was the Dodgers’ most recent MVP.
The Dodgers can also become the sixth team to have four MVPs on the roster in the same season, including pitchers. Clayton Kershaw is a free agent, but he’s widely expected to pitch in 2024 and isn’t known to be considering any other destinations. If Kershaw re-signs, the 2021, 2022 and 2024 Dodgers will make up exactly half of the six four-MVP rosters in MLB history.
Dodgers MVPs in 2024
Kershaw remains likely to re-sign with the Dodgers, so he could give Los Angeles a fourth MVP player once again and tie the record for most on a roster.
Source : ESPN.com