- Ohtani is now the highest-paid MLB star, eclipsing his ex-teammate, Mike Trout
- After elbow surgery, Ohtani is not expected to pitch until 2025 at the earliest
- READ MORE: Ohtani was not aboard flight from LA to Toronto – it was a TV host
Shohei Ohtani, baseball’s top free agent and the sport’s first true two-way star since Babe Ruth, has agreed to join the Los Angeles Dodgers on a record 10-year, $700 million deal.
Ohtani made the announcement on Instagram on Saturday and ESPN reports the deal is worth $700m across a decade.
It’s a new record deal for MLB – shattering the total paid by his old team, the Los Angeles Angels, to Mike Trout in 2019, which was worth $426.5m. Mookie Betts, Ohtani’s new Dodgers teammate, has a $365m contract while Aaron Judge with the Yankees is now fourth on the all-time list at $360m.
Ohtani’s average annual salary comes in at $70 million, easily surpassing the currently leaders: Texas Rangers hurler Max Scherzer and Houston Astros pitcher Justin Verlander, both of whom will make $43.3 million in 2024.
‘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 wrote on Instagram.
Shohei Ohtani is staying in Los Angeles – but is moving from the Angels to the Dodgers
Ohtani, 29, hit 44 home runs last season but in 2024, will not able to pitch for the Dodgers
‘Until the last day of my career, I want to continue to strive forward not only for the Dodgers but for the baseball world.’
Ohtani also addressed the Los Angeles Angels, the team he has departed.
‘I would like to express my sincere gratitude to everyone involved with the Angels organization and the fans who have supported me over the last six years, as well as to everyone involved with each team that was part of this negotiation process,’ he said.
‘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. Thank you very, very much.’
Ohtani said he would address more thoughts about his blockbuster move at a later press conference.
The Japanese star had been linked to a number of teams across Major League Baseball, including the Blue Jays and the Cubs.
But his mega-deal with the Dodgers comes even though he will not be pitching in the 2024 season after undergoing surgery on his throwing elbow.
He had Tommy John surgery on his right elbow in September, with the operation performed by Dr Neal ElAttrache – the same surgeon who operated on Aaron Rodgers’ torn Achilles.
It is the second time Ohtani has had the operation – the first was carried out on October 1 2018.
He hit 44 home runs for the Angels last year and will likely be a designated hitter for the Dodgers during the coming season.
Speaking of the Dodgers, manager Dave Roberts now has three former MVPs atop his order with Ohtani, the reigning AL winner, as well as former AL winner in Betts and the 2020 NL MVP, Freddie Freeman.