Shohei Ohtani signs record-breaking $700 million Deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers

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In a historic move that has sent shockwaves through the baseball world, Shohei Ohtani, the unparalleled two-way talent, has inked a groundbreaking 10-year, $700 million deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers. The announcement was made by Ohtani himself on his Instagram page, concluding weeks of suspense and speculation regarding his free agency.

The contract, the largest in baseball history by a staggering $250 million, surpasses the previous record set by Mike Trout’s 12-year, $426.5 million extension in 2019. It also eclipses the $450 million deal signed by Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes, making it the largest in North American professional sports history. Ohtani’s average annual salary of $70 million shatters the previous MLB record held by Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer.

The deal, though yet to be officially announced by the Dodgers, reportedly includes no opt-outs. To mitigate the impact on the team’s competitive balance tax payroll, Ohtani suggested deferring the “majority” of his salary, showcasing a commitment to the long-term success of both parties involved, as stated by his agent, Nez Balelo.

Ohtani, 29, has rewritten the history books by becoming the first player to be unanimously named MVP on multiple occasions. His unique ability to excel as both a pitcher and hitter has captivated the baseball world, reminiscent of Babe Ruth’s dual role over a century ago. Despite a recent elbow injury, Ohtani is expected to resume his two-way play by 2025, according to Dodgers team physician Dr. Neal ElAttrache.

The negotiations leading up to the announcement were shrouded in secrecy, with little known about Ohtani’s preferences beyond his commitment to continuing his two-way pursuits. The Dodgers emerged as the favorites, beating out the Toronto Blue Jays, San Francisco Giants, Chicago Cubs, and his former team, the Los Angeles Angels.

In a statement on Instagram, Ohtani expressed gratitude to the Angels and their fans for the six years he spent with the organization. He also pledged to Dodgers fans to “always do what’s best for the team” and continue giving his all.

The impact of Ohtani’s move to the Dodgers is already being felt, with the team’s World Series odds improving following the announcement. The Dodgers, known for their regular-season prowess, are now the consensus favorites to win the championship in the upcoming season.

Ohtani’s regular-season debut with the Dodgers is set for a two-game series against the San Diego Padres on March 20-21. As the team’s designated hitter in 2024, Ohtani will join a lineup featuring stars Mookie Betts and Freddie Freeman. The Dodgers are still in need of starting pitching but are expected to be aggressive in the trade market.

The signing of Shohei Ohtani represents a seismic shift in the landscape of baseball, combining unparalleled talent with a historic financial commitment. As he embarks on this new chapter with the Los Angeles Dodgers, the expectations and excitement surrounding Ohtani’s continued impact on the game are at an all-time high.

(Source: ESPN | MLB | The Ringer)

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