MLB

Shohei Ohtani Agrees To Record $700 million, 10-Year Contract With Dodgers

Dec 9, 2023, 2:21 PM | Updated: Dec 11, 2023, 12:05 pm

NEW YORK (AP)Shohei Ohtani agreed Saturday to a record $700 million, 10-year contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The deal was announced after days of speculation over where the two-way star would continue his career after six seasons with the Los Angeles Angels.

“This is a unique, historic contract for a unique, historic player,” Ohtani’s agent, Nez Balelo of CAA Sports, said in a statement. “He is excited to begin this partnership, and he structured his contract to reflect a true commitment from both sides to long-term success.”

Ohtani’s total was 64% higher than baseball’s previous record, a $426.5 million, 12-year deal for Angels outfielder Mike Trout that began in 2019.

His $70 million average salary is 62% above the previous high of $43,333,333, shared by pitchers Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander with deals they struck when signing with the New York Mets. Ohtani’s average salary nearly doubles the roughly $42.3 million he earned with the Angels. It also exceeds the entire payrolls of Baltimore and Oakland this year.

His agreement includes unprecedented deferred money that will lower the amount it counts toward the Dodgers’ luxury tax payroll, a person familiar with the agreement told The Associated Press. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the details were not announced.

This is perhaps the largest contract in sports history, topping highs believed to be set by soccer stars Lionel Messi and Kylian Mbappé.

There was no immediate comment by the Dodgers. Ohtani has not spoken with reporters since Aug. 9.

“I apologize for taking so long to come to a decision,” Ohtani said in an English-language statement on Instagram. “I would like to express my sincere gratitude to everyone involved with the Angels organization and the fans who have supported me over the past six years, as well as to everyone involved with each team that was part of this negotiation process. Especially to the Angels fans who supported me through all the ups and downs, your guys’ support and cheer meant the world to me. The six years I spent with the Angels will remain etched in my heart forever.”

“And to all Dodgers fans, I pledge to always do what’s best for the team and always continue to give it my all to be the best version of myself,” he added. “Until the last day of my playing career, I want to continue to strive forward not only for the Dodgers but for the baseball world.”

Ohtani’s decision came six years and one day after he first agreed to his deal with Angels.

Ohtani has redefined modern baseball since he chose the Angels as his first major league team. Nobody has come close to matching his simultaneous achievements at the plate and on the mound, becoming one of the majors’ elite players in both roles whenever healthy. Along the way, he’s become one of the most marketable athletes in the world, sure to boost ticket sales, TV ratings and sponsorship revenues wherever he goes.

He was a unanimous AL MVP in 2021 and 2023 — he finished second in 2022 — winning this year despite injuring his elbow in late August and an oblique muscle in early September.

Ahead of his 30th birthday on July 5, he has a .274 average with 171 homers, 437 RBIs and 86 stolen bases along with a 39-19 record with a 3.01 ERA and 608 strikeouts in 481 2/3 innings. Ohtani has 34.7 Wins Above Replacement (WAR), per Baseball Reference.

The Halos are a perennial also-ran, both in the AL standings and in the Los Angeles market, but they won Ohtani’s services in late 2017 partly by promising him the freedom to train and to play however he wanted. Ohtani immediately dazzled the entire sport in 2018, batting .285 with 22 homers and 61 RBIs as a designated hitter and going 4-2 with a 3.31 ERA and 63 strikeouts.

Ohtani won the AL Rookie of the Year award in 2018 despite making just one pitching appearance after early June due to an injured elbow ligament that required Tommy John surgery following the season. Ohtani made just two mound appearances in the next two years while continuing to play as the Angels’ DH.

When his arm was finally healthy in 2021, Ohtani put together a season for the ages.

He won the AL MVP award with 46 homers and 100 RBIs at the plate while going 9-2 with a 3.18 ERA on the mound. He improved as a pitcher in 2022, going 15-9 with a 2.33 ERA and a 1.01 WHIP while still driving in 95 runs at the plate, but finished behind Aaron Judge in the MVP voting after the Yankees star hit an AL record 62 homers.

After winning the MVP award in the World Baseball Classic last March while leading Japan to victory — he struck out Trout to end the tournament — Ohtani maintained his two-way magnificence this year, hitting 44 homers with a career-high 1.066 OPS while going 10-5 with a 3.14 ERA before tearing his elbow ligament again on Aug. 23. He didn’t hit after Sept. 3 because of the strained right oblique.

Along with his elbow injuries, Ohtani’s transcendent success has come with another significant damper: He has never made the playoffs or even played on a winning team in the majors. Owner Arte Moreno’s Angels haven’t won more than 80 games or finished higher than third in the AL West during his tenure alongside Trout, a three-time AL MVP, and a perennially disappointing cast of supporting players.

Ohtani earned $42,269,259 in his six seasons with the Angels. After receiving a signing bonus of $2,315,000 with his initial deal, he had salaries of $545,000, $650,000, $259,259 (in the pandemic-shortened 2020 season), $3 million, $5.5 million and $30 million.

Download the new & improved KSL Sports app from Utah’s sports leader. You can stream live radio, video and stay up to date on all of your favorite teams.

MLB

Chicho-Arango-Real-Salt-Lake-Orlando-City-SC RSL Leagues Cup Real Salt Lake U.S. Open Cup...

Chandler Holt

Real Salt Lake To Compete In 2024 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup

Real Salt Lake will compete in the 2024 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup for the 18th time in club history in 2024.

2 days ago

Los Angeles Dodgers MLB Pitching...

JAY COHEN AP Baseball Writer

MLB Wants To Make Starting Pitching More Prominent, But It’s A Tough Task In Today’s Game

The state of starting pitching has the attention of the MLB. The league is considering lowering the maximum of 13 pitchers per team.

4 days ago

spring training sloan park...

Brian Preece

Locals In MLB: Following Nine Former Beehive State Stars In Big League Camps

Spring Training is a chance for young players to catch the eye of a coach or scout in hopes of finding their name on the Opening Day roster.

6 days ago

MLB umpire Jen Pawol...

MARC BERMAN Associated Press

Jen Pawol Becomes First Woman To Umpire A Spring Training Game Since 2007

It took eight years but Jen Pawol made the leap from the minors to a major league game spring training contest

7 days ago

Shohei-Ohtani-Los-Angeles-Dodgers-MLB...

David Brandt, AP

MLB Players Miffed At Sport’s New See-Through Pants, Relaying Concerns To League

MLB's new uniform reveal hasn't gone very well. Now some of the rampant criticism has moved below the belt.

9 days ago

andre jackson...

Brian Preece

Locals in MLB: Former Ute Continuing Baseball Dream In Japan

For Andre Jackson, the scenery can't get much different after trading MLB glory for a chance to kickstart his career in Japan.

11 days ago

Sponsored Articles

ksl-sports-newsletter...

KSL Sports

KSL Sports Newsletter: Sign Up Now

Sign up today for the KSL Sports newsletter. Get the latest Utah sports news delivered to your inbox.

...

KSL Sports

Jazz Notes Newsletter: Sign Up Now

Sign up today for the Jazz Notes newsletter. Get insider analysis, game recaps and opportunities to win tickets!

Follow @kslsports...

The Road Home Mediathon 2023

The KSL Sports Zone and KSLSports.com are proud to support the all-day Mediathon 2023 at the Road Home, an annual tradition to raise money and other essential items for the Road Home, a Homeless Shelter.

3 kids wearing real salt lake jerseys smiling...

Real Salt Lake

6 Reasons You Need to Experience a RSL Matchday

RSL Games are a great way to spend time with your family with fun activities, good food, and traditions you can only experience at the field.

High angle view of the beautiful Rose Bowl Stadium...

KSL Digital Sales

How to Prepare for the 2023 Rose Bowl

Everything you need to know to plan your 2023 Rose Bowl trip in Pasadena, California. This year, the Utes will face Penn State.

Jordan-Clarkson-Utah-Jazz...

KSL Digital Sales

Notable Moments From The Utah Jazz Season… So Far

At the beginning of the season, the Utah Jazz were second to last. Now they rank in the top 10 teams in the Western Conference.

Shohei Ohtani Agrees To Record $700 million, 10-Year Contract With Dodgers