Shohei Ohtani shook the sports world on Saturday, announcing his plans to sign with the Los Angeles Dodgers after spending six seasons with the Angels.
Ohtani's new record-setting contract is worth $700 million over 10 years, according to his agent Nez Balelo.
Saturday's announcement caps one of the most expensive bidding wars in Major League Baseball history, and at the end of the day Ohtani's new deal could be the richest in league history.
The decision comes days after speculation over where the baseball superstar would land, especially after a whirlwind Friday where many baseball reporters all but signed off on him heading to the Toronto Blue Jays.
However, Ohtani ultimately decided to remain in Southern California, just 30 miles up the I-5 Freeway, much to the delight of Dodger Nation.
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts confirmed earlier this week that, but at the time didn't offer any indication of how the meeting went.
Ohtani's deal with the Dodgers breaks the previous record of $426.5 million, which was part of the 12-year deal given to Angels superstar outfielder Mike Trout in 2019.
In his post, Ohtani thanked the Angels organization for their support, but had a special message for 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. 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, who turns 30 in July, is already acting on that pledge, as new details about an extremely team friendly set of contract specifics come to light. ESPN's Jeff Passan reports that the deal has "significant" deferrals, which in turn allows the Dodgers to lower the cost of the luxury tax payroll and build a better and more competitive team around their new star.
Since leaving the Nippon Professional Baseball League in 2017, Ohtani has taken the baseball world by storm, blending an unprecedented skillset both at the plate and on the mound to become the sport's biggest player.
In six big league seasons, the two-way star is a lifetime .274 hitter with 171 homers, 437 runs batted in and 86 stolen bases. He also has a 38-19 career record as a starting pitcher with 608 strikeouts in 481 and two-thirds innings pitched to the tune of a 3.01 ERA.
He's already taken home a slew of MLB awards including 2018 AL Rookie of the Year, two unanimous AL MVP awards (), three All-Star berths and two Silver Sluggers. He was also named the World Baseball Classic MVP prior to the start of the regular season, striking out his now-former teammate in Mike Trout to secure Japan's title.
The Dodgers have always had their eye on Ohtani, attempting to sign him out of high school back in 2012. Instead, the phenom opted instead to pursue professional baseball in Japan, where he played four seasons before he was posted by the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters.
Now, more than a decade later, they finally have their man, who is slated to join an already star-studded lineup filled with former MVPs in Freddie Freeman and Mookie Betts. He's projected to have a major impact, even on a team that has won 10 of the last 11 NL West Division titles.
Ohtani will not toe the mound for the Dodgers in 2024, however, aftertowards the end of the 2023 season. He is expected to be fully available as a hitter.
Ohtani signaled that there would be a press conference at some point to discuss his decision and what Is to come in the future.
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