Shohei Ohtani is driving up the 5 freeway and joining the Los Angeles Dodgers. On Saturday, December 10, the two time AL MVP and face of Major League Baseball signed a whopping 10-year contract worth a record $700 million dollars.Ohtani, at only 29, led the American League with 44 home runs this past season, in addition to throwing 132 innings with 167 strikeouts and a 3.14 ERA.
The Japanese superstar will receive $2 million per year over the 10-year agreement, which defers $68 million annually. He won’t pitch in 2024 given his recent elbow surgery, but he will hit next year, and hit a lot. Ohtani has moved his career north to Chavez Ravine and will no longer play in the shadows of Disneyland.Ohtani made the shocking announcement on Instagram, sending the entire sports world into a frenzy.
Dodger fans, thank you for welcoming me to your team,” said Ohtani. “I can say 100 percent that you, the Dodgers organization and I share the same goal-to bring World Series parades to the streets of Los Angeles.”In terms of the history of North American team sports, it exceeds Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes’ 10-year, $450 million extension; in baseball, it surpasses now-former teammate Mike Trout, who agreed to a 12-year, $426.5 million extension with the Angels in 2019.The game’s most dynamic talent is heading to Los Angeles proper to join a Dodgers team that won 100 games this past season, but also got swept in the Division Series.
Photos by Gary Leonard
Chairman of the Los Angeles Dodgers Mark Walter is proud the Dodgers, one of the most legendary Major League Baseball organizations is able to attract worldwide talent. “On behalf of the L.A. Dodgers and our fans everywhere, we welcome Shohei Ohtani to the Dodgers, the home of Jackie Robinson, Sandy Koufax and Hideo Nomo, three of the sport’s most legendary and pathbreaking players. We congratulate him on his historic contract with our storied franchise,” said Mark Walter, Chairman of the Los Angeles Dodgers and Guggenheim Baseball. “Shohei is a once-in-a-generation talent and one of the most exciting professional athletes in the world. Our players, staff, management and ownership look forward to working together with Shohei to help the Dodgers continue to add, improve and strive for excellence on the field. Together with Shohei, we will work to help grow the number and breadth of people around the world who enjoy the excitement of Major League Baseball.”
Ohtani was voted the 2023 AL Most Valuable Player by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America, winning the award unanimously for the second time in his career and becoming the first player in Major League Baseball history to win the award unanimously more than once. He is the 28th player in MLB history to win the award multiple times and the 16th player in American League history with multiple MVP awards. Ohtani also won the 2023 World Baseball Classic MVP award after leading Team Japan to the title. Ohtani batted .435 with a 1.345 OPS while going 2-0 on the mound with a 1.86 ERA, striking out Mike Trout of Team USA for the series-clinching out.u3
Ohtani made his Major League debut in 2018, starting as the designated hitter against the Oakland Athletics on March 29. He singled in his Major League debut while recording his first Major League victory on April 1 after tossing six innings against Oakland. He would go on to win the American League Rookie of the Year as he finished his inaugural campaign with a .285 batting average, .361 OBP, .564 slugging percentage, .925 OPS, 22 homers and 61 RBI alongside a 4-2 record with a 3.31 ERA in 11 starts.Shohei will now have the opportunity to play in October, as a World Series Title is the only accolade he is yet to attain.
Playing for the Blue Crew could further cement his legacy as one of the greatest players in MLB history. Manager Dave Roberts will start his lineup with Ohtani, Mookie Betts, and Freddie Freeman in an what’s sure to be one of the greatest lineups in MLB in 2024 and beyond.
The Dodgers’ rich tradition with Japan began while the team was still in Brooklyn, with goodwill tours to the country that featured the likes of Hall of Famers Jackie Robinson, Roy Campanella, Gil Hodges and Duke Snider. The Dodgers became the second team to introduce a Japanese-born player to the majors when Nomo broke through and went on to win the 1995 National League Rookie of the Year.This is such a monumental moment in the history of Los Angeles sports. Akin to Wayne Gretsky signing with the Los Angeles Kings, or Shaquille O’Neal going to the Lakers.Everyone in the Southland is talking about the record deal, regardless of whether they enjoy baseball or the Dodgers.