MLB

Los Angeles Dodgers confirm £558m deal for Shohei Ohtani

By Sports Desk December 11, 2023

The Los Angeles Dodgers have confirmed the signing of Japanese superstar Shohei Ohtani on a mammoth 10-year contract.

The reigning American League MVP’s agent Nez Balelo revealed the record-breaking 700million dollar (£558m) deal on Saturday before Ohtani posted on his Instagram account about his short move from the Los Angeles Angels.

“We congratulate him on his historic contract with our storied franchise,” said Mark Walter, chairman of the Dodgers and their owners Guggenheim Baseball, in a statement confirming the move on Monday.

“Shohei is a once-in-a-generation talent and one of the most exciting professional athletes in the world.”

He continued: “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 grown the number and breadth of people around the world who enjoy the excitement of Major League Baseball.”

Ohtani, 29, thanked Dodgers fans for welcoming him to the team.

“I can say, 100 %, that you, the Dodger organisation and I share the same goal – to bring World Series parades to the streets of Los Angeles.”

Reports in US media say Ohtani will receive around two million dollars (£1.6m) a year throughout his contract with the balance in instalments of 68m dollars a year (£54.1m) for the following 10 years to provide the club with greater flexibility in payroll restrictions.

Former MVPs Mookie Betts and Freddie Freeman have similar deferred deals with the Dodgers.

Ohtani is unusual in that he plays as a pitcher and a hitter, becoming regarded as one of the best in the game on both sides of the ball since his Angels debut in 2018.

He won his second American League MVP award in 2023, despite an elbow injury which curtailed his season and will prevent him from pitching in 2024.

Pitcher Joe Kelly, who re-signed with the Dodgers on Monday, is switching to number 99 to allow Ohtani to retain his 17 jersey.

The previous record contract in MLB was the 426.5m (£340m) the Angels paid to outfielder Mike Trout as part of a 12-year deal in 2019.

Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes’ 10-year 450m (£359m) extension, agreed in September, was the previous highest in US sports.

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