SEATTLE MARINERS

Shohei Ohtani agrees to $700 million, 10-year deal with Dodgers

Dec 9, 2023, 1:09 PM

Seattle Mariners All-Star Game Shohei Ohtani...

Shohei Ohtani during the 2023 MLB All-Star Game at the Seattle Mariners' T-Mobile Park. (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

(Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

NEW YORK (AP) — Shohei Ohtani agreed Saturday to a record $700 million, 10-year contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The deal was announced after days of speculation over where the two-way star 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. It also exceeds the entire payrolls of Baltimore and Oakland this year.

His agreement includes unprecedented deferred money that will lower the amount it counts toward the Dodgers’ luxury tax payroll, a person familiar with the agreement told The Associated Press. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the details were not announced.

This is perhaps the largest contract in sports history, topping highs believed to be set by soccer stars Lionel Messi and Kylian Mbappé.

There was no immediate comment by the Dodgers. Ohtani has not spoken with reporters since Aug. 9.

“I apologize for taking so long to come to a decision,” Ohtani said in an English-language statement on Instagram. “I would like to express my sincere gratitude to everyone involved with the Angels organization and the fans who have supported me over the past six years, as well as to everyone involved with each team that was part of this negotiation process. Especially to the Angels fans who supported me through all the ups and downs, your guys’ support and cheer meant the world to me. The six years I spent with the Angels will remain etched in my heart forever.”

“And to all 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,” he added. “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’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.

He was a unanimous AL MVP in 2021 and 2023 — he finished second in 2022 — winning this year despite injuring his elbow in late August and an oblique muscle in early September.

Ahead of his 30th birthday on July 5, he has a .274 average with 171 homers, 437 RBIs and 86 stolen bases along with a 39-19 record with a 3.01 ERA and 608 strikeouts in 481 2/3 innings. Ohtani has 34.7 Wins Above Replacement (WAR), per Baseball Reference.

The Halos are a perennial also-ran, both in the AL standings and in the Los Angeles market, but they won Ohtani’s services in late 2017 partly by promising him the freedom to train and to play however he wanted. Ohtani immediately dazzled the entire sport in 2018, batting .285 with 22 homers and 61 RBIs as a designated hitter and going 4-2 with a 3.31 ERA and 63 strikeouts.

Ohtani won the AL Rookie of the Year award in 2018 despite making just one pitching appearance after early June due to an injured elbow ligament that required Tommy John surgery following the season. Ohtani made just two mound appearances in the next two years while continuing to play as the Angels’ DH.

When his arm was finally healthy in 2021, Ohtani put together a season for the ages.

He won the AL MVP award with 46 homers and 100 RBIs at the plate while going 9-2 with a 3.18 ERA on the mound. He improved as a pitcher in 2022, going 15-9 with a 2.33 ERA and a 1.01 WHIP while still driving in 95 runs at the plate, but finished behind Aaron Judge in the MVP voting after the Yankees star hit an AL record 62 homers.

After winning the MVP award in the World Baseball Classic last March while leading Japan to victory — he struck out Trout to end the tournament — Ohtani maintained his two-way magnificence this year, hitting 44 homers with a career-high 1.066 OPS while going 10-5 with a 3.14 ERA before tearing his elbow ligament again on Aug. 23. He didn’t hit after Sept. 3 because of the strained right oblique.

Along with his elbow injuries, Ohtani’s transcendent success has come with another significant damper: He has never made the playoffs or even played on a winning team in the majors. Owner Arte Moreno’s Angels haven’t won more than 80 games or finished higher than third in the AL West during his tenure alongside Trout, a three-time AL MVP, and a perennially disappointing cast of supporting players.

Ohtani earned $42,269,259 in his six seasons with the Angels. After receiving a signing bonus of $2,315,000 with his initial deal, he had salaries of $545,000, $650,000, $259,259 (in the pandemic-shortened 2020 season), $3 million, $5.5 million and $30 million.

Morosi: It’s ‘fair to ask’ if Seattle Mariners ‘maxed out’ how good they can be

Mariners Roof Report

Brought to you by
Sunny
High 86° | Low 59°
Roof is open
Astros at Mariners today at 6:40pm

Seattle Mariners

Seattle Mariners Houston Astros Trey Cabbage 2024...

Tim Booth

Astros shut out Mariners 3-0, move into virtual tie atop AL West

The Seattle Mariners mustered just four hits and lost their hold on first place in the AL West with a 3-0 loss to the Houston Astros.

11 hours ago

Seattle Mariners Bryan Woo Los Angeles Angels 2024 Getty 900...

Cameron Van Til

Servais explains Mariners’ rotation strategy for Astros series

Seattle Mariners manager Scott Servais detailed why they plan to start Bryan Woo instead of Logan Gilbert in Sunday's series finale.

14 hours ago

Seattle Mariners Gabe Speier Kansas City Royals 2024...

Cameron Van Til

Key Mariners reliever returns, recent addition DFA’d

The Seattle Mariners activated left-handed reliever Gabe Speier from the injured list and designated reliever Mike Baumann for assignment.

16 hours ago

Seattle Mariners trade deadline Isaac Paredes Andrés Muñoz Logan Gilbert...

Brent Stecker

ESPN’s Passan: One hitter makes most sense for a Mariners trade

The MLB trade deadline market may be squished, but the Seattle Mariners may still be able to make a run at Tampa Bay slugger Isaac Paredes, says ESPN's Jeff Passan.

20 hours ago

Seattle Mariners J.P. Crawford...

SeattleSports.com Staff

4 Takes: Which Mariners hitter should you buy stock in for second half?

The Seattle Mariners' struggling offense features plenty of players performing well off previous seasons. We share our picks who will snap out of it in the second half.

23 hours ago

Seattle Mariners Astros Luis Castillo Houston...

Brent Stecker

Why the Mariners ‘don’t look at the Astros’ how they used to

The Seattle Mariners hold just a one-game lead over the Astros in AL West ahead of a huge three-game series to open the second half this weekend.

1 day ago

Shohei Ohtani agrees to $700 million, 10-year deal with Dodgers