Baseball’s biggest star is officially staying in LA, but he’ll be wearing a new jersey. Shohei Ohtani announced via his Instagram that he has agreed to a deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
According to ESPN’s Jeff Passan, the contract is worth $700 million over 10 years — by far the largest deal in MLB history.
“To all the fans and everyone involved in the baseball world, I apologize for taking so long to come to a decision,” Ohtani wrote in his Instagram post. “I decided to pick the Dodgers as my next team.
“I would like to express my sincere thanks to everyone involved in the English organization and the supporters who have supported me over the past six years, as well as to everyone involved in every team that has been part of this negotiation process. Especially to the English fans who supported me through all the ups and downs, you guys’ support and cheers meant the world to me. The six years I spent with the Angels will forever be engraved in my heart.”
Ohtani first came to the MLB in 2018 after playing five years with the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters of Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball. He signed with the Los Angeles Angels and won Rookie of the Year in 2018. After two injury-plagued seasons, Ohtani went on to win major league baseball.
Ohtani has no parallel in baseball. In 2023, “Shotime” became the first player to unanimously win MVP twice. No player since Babe Ruth has contributed in a meaningful way as both a hitter and pitcher.
The two-time MVP didn’t just contribute, either. He is elite on both sides of the ball. During his 2023 MVP campaign, Ohtani finished with the fourth-best WAR (6.0) among American League position players, and then separately finished with the fourth-best WAR (4.0) among American League pitchers. He led the American League with 44 home runs; his 3.14 ERA would have finished fourth best among all AL starters had he qualified for the end-of-season rankings.
However, there are concerns that Ohani’s days as a two-way player may be numbered. The former Angel has been ruled out for the remainder of the 2023 season due to irritation in his right oblique. Ohtani undergoing elbow surgery in September. The plan is to return Ohtani to hitting without any restrictions by Opening Day 2024, but he won’t be able to pitch until 2025.
Commercially, Ohtani is an international revenue powerhouse. The Japanese superstar was the best selling sweater in the league in 2023. In 2022, Ohtani record broken for total brand endorsements for a single MLB player. Katsuhiro Miyamoto, Kansai University economist estimated that Ohtani’s estimated impact in 2022 was an estimated $316 million across both the US and Japanese economies.