NEW YORK –
Shohei Ohtani set a monetary record in line with his incredible talent by signing a $700 million contract to move to the Los Angeles Dodgers.
The 10-year deal was announced after days of speculation that the Japanese star who stood out as a hitter and pitcher would continue his career after six years with the Los Angeles Angels.
His agent, Nez Balelo, released a statement Saturday afternoon announcing the deal, ending months of speculation that began even before Ohtani declared himself a free agent on Nov. 2. In recent days, the press and fans have dedicated themselves to tracking the movements of private planes and visits as detectives to determine the intentions of the two-time American League Most Valuable Player. with the Angels.
“This is a historic and unprecedented contract for a player,” said Balelo, of the CAA Sports agency. “He is excited to begin his collaboration and has structured his contract to reflect the true commitment of both parties to long-term success.”
The deal is 64% more expensive than the previous record of $426.5 million that outfielder Mike Trout signed with the Angels, which began in 2019.
His annual average of 70 million is 62% more than the previous record of nearly 44 million shared by pitchers Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander who signed with the New York Mets. His new salary is almost double what he earned with the Angels.
It is probably the biggest contract in the history of the sport, surpassing the records believed to be set by Lionel Messi and Kylian Mbappé in football.
The Dodgers had no immediate comment. Ohtani has not spoken to reporters since August 9.
“I apologize for taking so long to come to a decision,” Ohtani said in a statement in English on Instagram. “I want to express all my gratitude to everyone involved in the Angels organization and the fans who have supported me over the past six years, as well as to everyone involved in every team that was part of the negotiation process.”
“And to the Dodger fans, I promise I will always do what’s best for the team and continue to give my all to be the best version of myself,” he continued. “Until the last day of my career I want to continue not only for the Dodgers, but for the world of baseball.”
Ohtani joins a roster that includes Mookie Betts – the 2018 AL MVP – and Freddie Freeman – the 2020 NL MVP. The Dodgers won the NL West for the 10th time in 11 years before losing by sweeping Arizona in the division series.
Ohtani changed the paradigm of modern baseball since choosing the Angels as his first major league team. No one has come close to his accomplishments in the modern era at the plate and mound, to be one of the best players ever as a hitter and pitcher when healthy. He eventually became a sports marketing giant, a man who skyrocketed ticket sales, television ratings and sponsorship revenue.
He was voted unanimous American League MVP in 2021 and 2023 — he was second in 2022 — winning this year despite injuring his elbow in late August and his oblique muscle in September.
Before he turned 30, on July 5, he had a .274 average, with 171 home runs, 437 RBI and 86 stolen bases, as well as 39-19 and a 3.01 ERA, with 608 strikeouts in 481 2/3 innings.
Ohtani was named the AL Rookie of the Year in 2018 even though he pitched just once in June due to an elbow injury that required Tommy John surgery.
If his arm is fully healed in 2021, Ohtani will have a great season. He was named AL MVP after hitting 46 home runs, 100 RBIs, as well as a 9-2 record and a 3.18 ERA. He improved as a pitcher in 2022, going 15-9 with a 2.33 ERA, in addition to hitting 95 home runs to finish second in MVP voting, behind Aaron Judge.
After winning the World Classic MVP in March to lead Japan to the title, Ohtani remained impressive this year with 44 home runs and a 10-5 record with a 3.14 ERA on the mound before suffering a torn elbow on August 23. , and did not bat again on September 3 because of a right oblique strain.
Elbow injuries aside, Ohtani has never made the postseason or finished with a winning season. The Angels have not won more than 80 games or finished higher than third in the American League West since he arrived in the United States.