Shohei Ohtani agrees to $700 million, 10-year contract with Los Angeles Dodgers

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Saturday, December 9, 2023
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LOS ANGELES -- Shohei Ohtani, who has captivated baseball with his unprecedented combination of high-level hitting and premium pitching, has agreed to a record $700 million, 10-year contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Ohtani announced the highly-anticipated decision on Instagram Saturday. It was announced after days of speculation over where he 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.

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.

On Nov. 16, Ohtani became the first two-time unanimous Most Valuable Player when he won the American League honor. Two days earlier, he was among seven players who turned down $20,325,000 qualifying offers from their former teams and remained in free agency to pursue more lucrative contracts.

Ohtani got hurt while playing for the Angels and had right elbow surgery on Sept. 19. Ohtani had Tommy John surgery in October 2018 and his agent, Nez Balelo, did not specify complete details after the latest operation.

Another MVP season

Ohtani led the AL with 44 homers and hit .304 with 96 RBIs, eight triples and 20 stolen bases in a season at the plate that ended Sept. 3 because of an oblique injury.

He was 10-5 with a 3.14 ERA in 23 starts on the mound, striking out 167 and walking 55 in 132 innings before tearing the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow on Aug. 23.

Not even Babe Ruth starred at such lofty levels on the mound and at the plate in the same season. Ruth batted .300 with 11 homers and 61 RBIs in 1918 while going 13-7 with a 2.22 ERA for Boston, then hit .322 with 29 homers and 113 RBIs in 1919 while going 9-5 with a 2.97 ERA. He made just five mound appearances in his final 16 seasons.

Mookie Betts Shohei Ohtani
Dodgers second baseman Mookie Betts, left, chats with Angels' Shohei Ohtani as Ohtani stands on second during the fourth inning of a baseball game Friday, July 7, 2023.
AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill

Ohtani averaged 96.8 mph with his four-seam fastball, 26th among qualified pitchers, and a 94.4 mph exit velocity off his bat, third among qualified batters behind the Yankees' Aaron Judge and Atlanta's Ronald Acuña Jr. Ohtani led the majors with a 10.0 Wins Above Replacement, according to Baseball Reference.

A left-handed batter and right-handed pitcher, Ohtani is a three-time All-Star. He has a .274 average, 171 homers, 437 RBIs and 86 steals in six major league seasons and is 38-19 with a 3.01 ERA in 86 starts with 608 strikeouts in 481 2/3 innings.

Ohtani won AL Rookie of the Year in 2018 after leaving the Pacific League's Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters to sign with the Angels. He was voted the Pacific League's MVP in 2016.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.