Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The Furious Case of Will Ohman

Once upon a time, Will Ohman was considered to be one of the best relief pitchers on the free agent market.

Once upon a time, Will Ohman thought he had a market for his services.

Once upon a time, Will Ohman actually had a major league contract offer from the Atlanta Braves.

Once upon a time, Will Ohman thought he was in line for a huge contract similar to those given out to Jeremy Affeldt and Damaso Marte.

But like many of the horror stories that I read as a child, this grizzly tale does not turn out well for Ohman. Reality bit him in the butt. There would be no large contract for Ohman and no teams were feverishly competing for his services. Instead, all Ohman received was a great ball of frustration, which should make him want to punch a hole in the wall (or punch his agent in the face).

Today, Will Ohman came to terms with the Los Angeles Dodgers after struggling to find a home for the entire offseason. Wooohooo! Finally a home! Time for Ohman to celebrate...right?

No. Absolutely not.

The deal Ohman signed with the Dodgers today was a minor league contract. That's right folks, there is no guarantees here for Ohman and even though he put up the best numbers of his career in 2008, he was left with no other option then to take a minor league contract. I don't care how bad the economy is right now...there is no reason why a guy of Ohman's caliber should have had to settle for a non guaranteed contract unless he was given some terrible advice by his agent.

Even though Ohman will definitely be with the Dodgers by the middle of April, it's mind boggling that Ohman was not able to receive a major league contract.

I imagine that Will Ohman is furious at his agent right about now. And you know what, he should be.

On the other hand, I think a few weeks/months into the season, there will be fans from all over the country, who will be furious at their respective general manager for not making a run at Ohman. Despite the minor league contract, this guy can pitch and is an effective left handed relief pitcher in this league, especially against left handed hitters. It's baffling that Ohman only received a minor league contract, but it's equally baffling that the Mets, Phillies, Braves, Pirates, etc. did not make a stronger push for Ohman considering how low his price tag became.

As for the Dodgers, you gotta love this deal. Signing Ohman makes the Dodgers a stronger team and gives them the situational lefty they were missing. Even though the Dodgers lost Joe Beimel to the Nationals, Ohman will be a solid replacement and will probably perform better than Beimel did against left handed hitters. Ohman will likely spend the first few weeks of the season in the minors simply catching up because he missed all of spring training. But look for Ohman to have a big impact in the Dodgers bullpen in 2009. The Dodgers are shaping up as a team that can seriously compete for the pennant.

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