Shohei Ohtani Inks 10-Year, $700 Million Deal with Los Angeles Dodgers

Japanese superstar Shohei Ohtani has agreed to a record-shattering 10-year, $700 million contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers. The deal was announced by Ohtani himself on Saturday via his Instagram account.

The $700 million payday surpasses the previous record for largest contract in MLB history, set by Mike Trout’s 12-year, $426.5 million extension with the Los Angeles Angels in 2019. It also easily tops the $450 million deal signed by Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes to become the largest contract ever in North American professional sports.

Ohtani’s groundbreaking pact features an eye-popping $70 million average annual salary, more than the entire 2023 opening day payrolls of the Baltimore Orioles and Oakland Athletics combined. It also was more than the total Oakland A’s Payroll from the last 10 seasons combined of $667 Million.

The contract contains no opt-out clauses and has significant deferrals to lessen the year-to-year payroll hit for the Dodgers.

Ohtani’s $700 million payday is monumental, but he also isn’t a normal ballplayer. The Dodgers are set to rake in a financial windfall from his superstar presence over the next decade that should offset the record outlay.

Expect a meteoric rise in Shohei jersey sales, ticket prices and demand at Dodger Stadium, lucrative sponsorship deals, and surge in overall franchise valuation. Ohtani instantly becomes the face of the second-largest media market in America. His legendary exploits and flair for the dramatic will drive ratings and interest in the club nationally and especially overseas.

The Dodgers scouted Ohtani when he was still a freshman at Hanamaki Higashi in Japan . He has been on their radar for over a decade, and the organization is betting his transcendent talent and marketing power will fuel revenues that justify the largest deal in baseball history.

The two-way sensation thanked the Angels organization and fans for their support over six seasons before declaring his commitment to bring a championship to the Dodgers and their fans. The Dodgers have won 10 of the last 11 NL West division titles but have suffered early playoff exits the last two seasons.

The 29-year-old Ohtani has accomplished feats unseen in baseball for over a century, excelling as both an elite power hitter and frontline starting pitcher simultaneously. He was the unanimous AL MVP in 2021 and 2022, joining Babe Ruth as the only player in MLB history to finish a season with 10+ wins and 30+ home runs.

From 2021-2023, Ohtani compiled a sensational .277 batting average with 124 home runs at the plate while recording 34 wins and 542 strikeouts over 428 1⁄3 innings on the mound. He fulfills the Dodgers’ acute need for pitching help and adds even more firepower to a stacked lineup already featuring perennial MVP candidates Mookie Betts and Freddie Freeman.

Ohtani had surgery in September to repair a torn UCL in his pitching elbow, his second such procedure. Noted orthopedic surgeon Dr. Neal ElAttrache expects Ohtani to return to hitting with no issues by opening day 2024. He should be ready to unleash his highly touted 100+ mph fastball and wipeout breaking balls from the mound again when the 2025 season rolls around.

The Dodgers outlasted the Toronto Blue Jays, San Francisco Giants, Chicago Cubs, and Ohtani’s former club the Angels to land the generational free agent. Many teams were scared off by Ohtani’s high asking price and injury history on the mound. But the Dodgers, winners of 740 games over the last six seasons, boast the payroll flexibility and championship culture to justify the incredible investment in the sport’s brightest superstar.

Bookies instantly made the Dodgers the consensus favorites to claim the 2024 World Series in the wake of Ohtani’s groundshaking decision. The franchise and its fanbase hope that by bringing Sho-time’s brilliance to Hollywood, they can soon add to the championship banner from 2020 and end a frustrating string of postseason letdowns. Ohtani’s regular season debut in Dodger blue will come in a two-game set against the rival San Diego Padres on March 20-21.

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