Shohei Ohtani had two hits in his official Los Angeles Dodgers debut, including an RBI single during a four-run eighth inning that helped his new team rally for a 5-2 win over the San Diego Padres in Seoul, South Korea in Wednesday's opener of the 2024 MLB season. 

Mookie Betts also had two hits and an RBI as the Dodgers got a season of sky-high expectations off to a successful start, though they faced a 2-1 deficit entering the eighth before the offence came to life against San Diego's bullpen.

The Dodgers loaded the bases with none out on a pair of walks and a Teoscar Hernandez single before Enrique Hernandez drove in the tying run with a sacrifice fly. Gavin Lux then reached base on a ground ball that went through the web of Padres first baseman Jake Cronenworth's glove, with Teoscar Hernandez scoring on the error for a 3-2 lead.

Betts and Ohtani followed with RBI singles to extend the lead to 5-2 before relievers Joe Kelly and Evan Phillips held the Padres scoreless over the final two innings.

Los Angeles received a total of four scoreless innings from four relievers after another of its big-ticket offseason acquisitions, Tyler Glasnow, allowed two runs over five innings.

Glasnow did issue four walks in his Los Angeles debut, including free passes to Manny Machado and Korean native Ha-Seong Kim to start the bottom of the fourth with the game tied at 1-1. Jurickson Profar followed with a bunt single to load the bases before Machado crossed the plate on a double-play grounder that put San Diego ahead.

The Dodgers had tied the game in the top of the fourth when Teoscar Hernandez reached on an error and later scored on Jason Heyward's sacrifice fly. 

San Diego recorded the first run of the season in the third when Xander Bogaerts singled in Tyler Wade, who drew a lead-off walk before advancing on Glasnow's wild pitch.

Bogaerts accounted for two of the Padres' four hits.

San Diego starter Yu Darvish worked the first 3 2/3 innings and allowed one unearned run on two hits while walking three and striking out three.

The game drew an announced crowd of 15,952 at the Gocheok Sky Dome for the first regular-season MLB game played in South Korea. The Dodgers and Padres will play again at the venue Thursday, with Los Angeles sending former Japanese league star pitcher Yoshinobu Yamamoto to the mound for his anticipated MLB debut. 

Former World Series champion Chase Utley has promised a “fantastic experience” when Major League Baseball returns to London this summer.

The 2024 MLB season officially gets under way on Wednesday with a two-game series between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the San Diego Padres in Seoul before the regular season begins on March 28.

This summer, on the weekend of June 8-9, the latest MLB London series will take place when the New York Mets and the Philadelphia Phillies go head-to-head in England’s capital.

London Stadium will host two matches between the sides in what will be the third time the sport has been taken to Britain after previous series in 2019 and last year.

Utley, who helped Philadelphia claim 2008 World Series success, said: “You’ll have the Phillies and Mets, two fantastic teams, two rivals in the same division.

“They’ve been rivals for around like 70 years and you’ll see some of the best players in the world.

“You’ll see fireworks, activities on the field in between innings, live music, you’ll have American-standard baseball food, which consists of hotdogs, nachos and burgers!

“Overall, it’s just a fantastic experience.”

Utley was in Brent Cross last week at The 108, a state-of-the-art dedicated indoor baseball facility, and put England white-ball captain Jos Buttler through his paces before he learned some of the key principles of cricket.

 

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Jos Buttler (@josbuttler)

 

The sporting crossover occurred due to cricket heading across the pond this summer when the T20 World Cup is hosted in America and West Indies during the same time of the latest MLB London series.

Former second baseman Utley retired in 2018 and splits his time between the United States and his new London home as part of his ambassador role for MLB Europe.

The 45-year-old feels cricket is slowly starting to break through in the USA, adding: “It’s probably as much as baseball penetrates here in the UK, so a bit, yes.

“Here, obviously football, from what I’ve seen in a short amount of time, is the sport that for sure everyone watches and then cricket is second place to that.

“In America, you have American Football and then you have basketball or you have baseball that are kind of bounced back and forth.

“It’s exciting to see that cricket is going to the United States to play because I’ve seen some amateurs playing in the park. You’re starting to see it more and more over the last few years that I was there.”

The next goal for Utley is to actually watch a cricket match live after brushing up his knowledge with Buttler last Wednesday when the meaning of ‘Bazball’ alongside the difference between Test and white-ball cricket was discussed.

“I’ve watched a fair share but I still haven’t seen it in person,” Utley said.

“At some point I need to see it in person. I’ve watched it on TV and it took me a little while, but I imagine it’s the same for watching baseball.

“It takes you a while to understand the nuances, the terminology and actually what is going on in the moment, but once you can wrap your head around it and make some sense, it’s very entertaining.”

New York Mets will play Philadelphia Phillies in the MLB World Tour: London Series 2024 on June 8-9 at London Stadium. Tickets are on sale now at ticketmaster.co.uk/MLB

The San Francisco Giants and reigning NL Cy Young Award winner Blake Snell have agreed to a two-year contract worth $62million, multiple media outlets reported Monday.

Snell will reportedly have the ability to opt out of the deal after one season and become a free agent again.

The left-hander won his second career Cy Young last season with the San Diego Padres after going 14-9 with a league-leading 2.25 ERA.

Snell, 31, won the AL Cy Young in 2018 after going 21-5 with a 1.89 ERA for the Tampa Bay Rays.

Singing Snell is the latest move in a busy offseason for the Giants as they try to catch up with their biggest rival, the Los Angeles Dodgers, in the NL West.

Earlier this offseason, the Giants spent over $250million in free agency to acquire South Korean outfielder Jung Hoo Lee, third baseman Matt Chapman, right-hander Jordan Hicks and slugging outfielder Jorge Soler.

In January, San Francisco traded for left-handed starter Robbie Ray, who is recovering from Tommy John surgery and could pitch later in 2024.

In 191 career starts, Snell is 71-55 with a 3.20 ERA and has 1,223 strikeouts in 992.2 innings pitched.

New York Yankees ace Gerrit Cole is expected to miss the first one-to-two months of the upcoming season due to lingering discomfort in the 2023 American League Cy Young Award winner's right elbow, the New York Post reported Wednesday.

Cole is expected to fly to Los Angeles for an in-person visit with noted sports orthopaedist Dr. Neal ElAttrache. According to the report, a recent MRI taken on the All-Star's elbow showed no tears in his ulnar collateral ligament, but ElAttrache recommended Cole undergo further testing as well as an in-person exam after reviewing the MRI results.

The 33-year-old had been scheduled to pitch New York's season opener in Houston against the Astros on March 28. Yankees manager Aaron Boone confirmed to reporters Tuesday that Cole would not make that start.

“Right now, there’s uncertainty about what’s going on in there,” Boone told MLB.com. “We’re waiting on everyone to weigh in. Sometimes the first look isn’t [conclusive]. You want to make sure when you’re talking about the elbow. You want to make sure you get it right and make the best decision. We’ve just got to be patient.”

Cole informed the Yankees' medical staff of elbow discomfort after he threw 47 pitches in a three-inning simulated game on Thursday. He underwent the MRI on Monday and was subsequently scratched from Tuesday's scheduled spring-training start. 

The six-time All-Star has made one Grapefruit League appearance this spring, a two-inning stint against the Toronto Blue Jays on March 1 in which he allowed three runs and threw 39 pitches.

According to the New York Post, the Yankees are hopeful Cole can make his season debut sometime in May or early June.

Cole captured his first career Cy Young Award with an outstanding 2023 campaign in which he led the AL with a 2.63 ERA while compiling a 15-4 record with 222 strikeouts in 209 innings. The Yankees went 23-10 in his 33 starts.

The accomplished right-hander has also been remarkably durable. Cole's 664 innings pitched since 2020 are the most in Major League Baseball over that time frame, and he has not been on the injured list for an arm-related issue since 2016.

Cole, entering the fifth season of a nine-year, $324 million contract he signed to join the Yankees in December 2019, is 51-23 with a 3.08 ERA in 108 regular-season starts during his tenure in New York.

The No. 1 overall pick of the 2011 MLB draft, Cole spent his first five major league seasons with the Pittsburgh Pirates before being traded to the Astros in 2018. He pitched two seasons for Houston and won a career-high 20 games in 2019 while helping the Astros reach the World Series.

 

The Houston Astros have signed All-Star second baseman Jose Altuve to a five-year, $125million contract extension, keeping one of the franchise's iconic players inked through 2030.

Altuve had been entering the final year of his previous deal.

Houston announced the deal on social media on Tuesday, declaring Altuve to be “an Astro for life.”

Only three players have ever played more games in an Astros uniform, and Altuve has been a cornerstone of Houston’s seven straight trips to the American League Championship Series, helping them win the World Series in 2017 and 2022.

“He's a franchise-type player; one of the best in Houston history,” owner Jim Crane said last November at the annual owners’ meetings. “And we hope someday he's a Hall of Famer.”

Altuve also became a lightning rod for opposing fans and media during the team’s sign-stealing scandal in recent years.

Standing just 5-foot-6, Altuve beat the odds just to be signed out of Venezuela in 2007.

Altuve, 33, has been selected as an All-Star eight times and was the AL’s Most Valuable Player in 2017, when he won his third batting title in four years.

In 1,668 career games – all with the Astros – Altuve has a .307 batting average and .834 OPS with 209 home runs and 293 stolen bases.

Some of Altuve’s most memorable moments, however, have come during Houston’s recent play-off runs.

Altuve’s 27 career post-season home runs and 89 runs scored both rank second all-time.

Altuve will be 39 when his new extension runs out, at which point he will be the first second baseman to make over $300million in career salary, according to ESPN’s Alden Gonzalez.

 

The Baltimore Orioles made a major move to upgrade their rotation Thursday, reaching a deal with the Milwaukee Brewers to acquire former Cy Young Award winner Corbin Burnes for a package of prospects.

The 29-year-old Burnes is one of the best pitchers in baseball and was the 2021 NL Cy Young Award winner. The right-hander struck out 234 in 167 innings that season with a league-leading 2.34 ERA.

Burnes, who is a free agent after the 2024 season, went 10-8 with a 3.39 ERA and 200 strikeouts in 193 2/3 innings last season to help the Brewers win the NL Central title.

In 2022, he topped the NL with 243 strikeouts in 202 innings while going 12-8 with a 2.94 ERA.

Heading to Milwaukee in the deal are left-hander D.L. Hall, infielder Joey Ortiz and the 34th pick in the 2024 draft.

Hall went 3-0 with a 3.26 ERA in 18 relief appearances last season and made his only major league start in 2022. Hall, 25, has spent most of his minor league career as a starter and has struck out 42 over 33 innings with 11 walks in 29 career appearances in the majors.

Ortiz, 25, made his major league debut last season and batted .212 with no home runs and four RBIs in 15 games.

A highly regarded defender, Ortiz could start in the Brewers’ infield this season, and could take over at shortstop in 2025 if incumbent Willy Adames leaves via free agency. Ortiz spent time at shortstop, second and third base for the Orioles.

Baltimore is coming off an AL East title and a 101-win season but was looking to upgrade its rotation. The Orioles now will have a payroll of around $90 million with Burnes’ $15.6 million salary added.

He joins a rotation with Kyle Bradish and Grayson Rodriguez – who had the third-best ERAs, respectively, among AL pitchers in the second half.

John P. Angelos has agreed to sell the Baltimore Orioles to private equity billionaires David Rubinstein and Mike Arougheti in a deal valuing the club at $1.725 billion, according to multiple reports.

Rubinstein is reportedly set to be the control person of the new Orioles' ownership group. He is a Baltimore native and the co-founder and chairman of the private equity firm the Carlyle Group.

Major League Baseball’s other owners will receive the official details of the sale at the annual owners' meeting next week. There reportedly isn’t a timetable for the deal to be completed.

According to one report, the deal will be structured to give the new owners 40 percent of the team, with the sale of the remaining stake to come following the death of patriarch Peter Angelos. Angelos, who purchased the Orioles in 1993 as the leader of a group that paid $40 million, he reportedly been incapacitated for years by an illness.

The Orioles are coming of the franchise’s best regular season in over four decades after winning the American League East with 101 wins before falling to the eventual champion Texas Rangers in the AL Division Series. They still boast the No. 1 prospect in baseball in Jackson Holliday and arguably the strongest farm system.

That success came despite Baltimore having the second-smallest payroll in baseball, and the team only added veteran reliever Craig Kimbrel on a one-year contract in the offseason.

The Houston Astros have agreed to a five-year, $95 million contract with five-time All-Star closer Josh Hader that will be the largest in present-day value for a relief pitcher in MLB history, multiple outlets reported Friday.

Hader's new deal will technically surpass the six-year, $102 million contract the New York Mets gave closer Edwin Diaz in November 2022, as Diaz's pact includes deferred payments that lowers its present-day value to around $93.2 million.

The bold move also gives the Astros potentially one of the game's most dominant back ends of the bullpen by teaming Hader, a three-time winner of the Trevor Hoffman Award honouring the National League's best reliever, with two-time All-Star Ryan Pressly.

Hader is coming off an outstanding 2023 season with the San Diego Padres in which the left-hander recorded 33 saves and a 1.28 earned run average while striking out 85 batters in 56 1/3 innings.

The 29-year-old has averaged 15.01 strikeouts per nine innings over the course of his seven major league seasons, the highest rate in MLB history among pitchers with at least 350 career innings pitched. Diaz ranks second at 14.81 per nine innings.

Hader also returns to an organisation he was a part of from 2013-15 as a minor leaguer, though he didn't make his major league debut until after being traded by the Astros to the Milwaukee Brewers in July 2015.

The hard-throwing lefty had a dominant six-year run in Milwaukee, making four NL All-Star teams and winning the Hoffman Award in 2018, 2019 and 2021 while helping the Brewers to four consecutive post-season appearances from 2018-21.

Milwaukee traded Hader to the Padres during the 2022 deadline in a surprising move, and he struggled with his new team over the remainder of that season before bouncing back with a strong 2023 campaign.

Hader has recorded 165 career saves along with a 20-21 record and a 2.50 ERA in 349 major league appearances, all in relief.

The signing is the first major move of the offseason for the Astros as they attempt to keep pace with the in-state and American League West rival Texas Rangers.

Houston reached the World Series four times in a six-year span from 2017-22 but was ousted by Texas in seven games in this past season's AL Championship Series, with the Rangers going on to defeat the Arizona Diamondbacks and capture the franchise's first World Series title. 

 

 

The Boston Red Sox decided to move on from oft-injured Chris Sale on Saturday, trading the veteran left-hander to the Atlanta Braves in exchange for infielder Vaughn Grissom.

The Red Sox will also send cash to the Braves to cover a portion of the $27.5 million salary Sale is owed in 2024, the final guaranteed season of a $160 million, six-year contract.

Sale is a seven-time All-Star but has battled injuries since he was acquired from the Chicago White Sox in December 2016. He made nine trips to the disabled and injured lists with the Red Sox, mostly due to shoulder and elbow ailments.

Sale helped Boston to a World Series title in 2018 but has made only 56 starts in the last four years, going 17-18 with a 4.86 ERA. He was 6-5 with a 4.30 ERA in 20 starts and 102 2/3 innings last season.

He joins a Braves rotation that projects to include Spencer Strider, Charlie Morton and Max Fried.

The 22-year-old Grissom batted .287 with five home runs and 27 RBIs over 64 games during the past two seasons for Atlanta. He made 41 starts and second base and 19 at shortstop.

The Los Angeles Dodgers landed the prize of the free-agent market Thursday night, reportedly agreeing with Japanese pitcher Yoshinobu Yamamoto on a record 12-year, $325 million deal.

The deal comes after Yamamoto was posted and made available to MLB teams in November. The Dodgers paid a $50.6 million posting fee to sign Yamamoto, according to ESPN’s Jeff Passan.

Yamamoto, 25, is considered a frontline starter and leaves Japan as the most decorated pitcher in Nippon Professional Baseball history.

He made his debut with Orix Buffaloes at age 18 and went on to record a 1.82 ERA in a seven-year career.

Yamamoto won the pitching Triple Crown last season, leading the league in wins, ERA and strikeouts. He went 49-16 with a 1.44 ERA and 580 strikeouts over the last three seasons, winning Japan’s equivalent of the Cy Young each year.

He is the first player since Ichiro Suzuki to win three straight MVPs in the NPB and only the second pitcher ever to win three, after Hisashi Yamada.

His contract is the largest for a pitcher in MLB history, topping the nine-year, $324 million deal Gerrit Cole signed with the Yankees in 2019.

Yamamoto’s record deal comes after the Dodgers signed Shohei Ohtani to a 10-year, $700 million deal, but unlike that contract, Yamamoto’s reportedly does not contain any deferrals. It does have a reported $50 million signing bonus.

The Texas Rangers will be without key pitcher Max Scherzer for possibly the first half of the 2024 season after the three-time Cy Young Award winner underwent back surgery this week, the team announced Friday. 

Scherzer issued a statement revealing he had surgery Thursday to repair a herniated disk in his back that has been bothering him all offseason. The injury also forced his removal from the Rangers' roster prior to the end of the 2023 World Series, which Texas won in five games over the Arizona Diamondbacks.

"After returning to my offseason home in Florida, my discomfort in my back continued to get worse,” Scherzer said. “During this time I received the diagnosis of a herniated disk.  After several conservative treatments and consulting with multiple specialists, I made the decision to have the recommended surgery.

"Getting this procedure done now will give me the best chance to pitch as much as possible for the Rangers in 2024. I look forward to putting in the rehab work and getting back on the mound next summer."

Rangers general manager Chris Young told reporters Friday that Scherzer will likely be sidelined into June or July. 

Scherzer was forced out of his Game 3 start of the World Series after three innings with what was initially described as back tightness. The 39-year-old also missed the final few weeks of the regular season with a muscle strain in his right shoulder before returning for the American League Championship Series between Texas and the Houston Astros.

The eight-time All-Star also missed time with injuries in 2022 while then with the New York Mets, as he was limited to 23 starts and 145 1/3 innings that year. Discounting the COVID-19 shortened 2020 campaign, both totals were his fewest in a season since his rookie year in 2008.

Texas acquired Scherzer from the Mets near the trade deadline on July 30, and he posted a 4-2 record with a 3.20 ERA in eight regular-season starts before the shoulder injury. The veteran right-hander was 0-1 with a 6.52 ERA in three post-season starts.

Scherzer compiled a 13-6 record with a 3.77 ERA and 174 strikeouts in 27 overall regular-season starts between the Mets and Rangers in 2023.

The Rangers will now begin defense of the franchise's first World Series title with two former Cy Young winners on the injured list. Jacob deGrom, Scherzer's former teammate in New York, is recovering from Tommy John surgery performed last summer and is aiming for a return in August.

“We had hoped to have a healthy Max Scherzer at the beginning of the season, obviously,” Young said when asked if the injury changes the Rangers' offseason plans. "That said, we also recognised that we were going to need pitching depth. I'm not sure it changes much in terms of building out that depth. It thins us out a little bit on the front half of the season.

"Pitching will remain a focus and we'll continue to look for any way to improve our club.”

 

 

On the same day they introduced Shohei Ohtani, the Los Angeles Dodgers acquired frontline starter Tyler Glasnow from the Tampa Bay Rays, according to multiple reports.

There is an agreement in place for the Dodgers to get Glasnow and outfielder Manuel Margot from Tampa Bay for right-hander Ryan Pepiot and outfield prospect Jonny Deluca.

The teams have not confirmed the deal because it is contingent on Glasnow signing a contract extension with the Dodgers, which could happen as early as Friday, according to sources.

Glasnow, 30, was among the top pitchers available in the trade market and gives the Dodgers ace potential. He went 10-7 with a 3.53 ERA and 162 strikeouts in 21 starts last season and posted a 3.20 ERA in six seasons with Tampa Bay.

Glasnow, though, has had trouble staying healthy and his 120 innings last season were a career high. In his five years as a full-time starting pitcher, the right-hander has undergone Tommy John surgery and spent separate time on the injured list due to a forearm strain, an elbow sprain and an oblique strain.

Margot is a highly regarded defender and joins a Dodgers' outfield that already includes James Outman, Chris Taylor and Jason Heyward.

Margot batted .264 with four home runs and 38 RBIs in 99 games last season and is a career .255 hitter in 788 games.

Pepiot is the key to the deal for the Rays after he entered the 2023 season ranked No. 70 on MLB’s top-100 prospect list. The 26-year-old was expected to be part of the Dodgers’ rotation after he was called up in August and had a 2.14 ERA in 42 innings with 38 strikeouts and five walks.

Pepiot enters the season with just one year of service time, giving Tampa Bay five years of control before he reaches free agency.

Deluca, 25, broke into the majors last season and hit .262 with two homers and six RBIs in 45 plate appearances. He can play anywhere in the outfield.

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.

Shohei Ohtani has confirmed he is to join the Los Angeles Dodgers on a  record-breaking contract after ending his six-year spell with the LA Angels.

The 29-year-old Japanese free agent, whose agent said he has agreed a 700million dollar (£558m) 10-year deal which would make him the highest earner in Major League Baseball (MLB) history, ended fevered speculation over his destination in a social media post on Saturday night.

The extent of the deal was revealed in a statement from his agent Nez Balelo, which described it as a “unique, historic contract for a unique, historic player”.

While the Dodgers have not made an official statement, their website carried headlines saying it was “Sho Time” and describing the deal as a “700m stunner”. MLB posted on X, formerly known as Twitter, that “Hollywood just added another star”.

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.

Ohtani wrote on his official Instagram account: “To all the fans and everyone involved in the baseball world, I apologize for taking so long to come to a decision. I have decided to choose the Dodgers as my next team.

 

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Shohei Ohtani | 大谷翔平 (@shoheiohtani)

“First of all, 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.

“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.”

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.

Shohei Ohtani has confirmed he is to join the Los Angeles Dodgers on what is reportedly a record-breaking contract after ending his six-year spell with the LA Angels.

The 29-year-old Japanese free agent, who is said to have agreed a 700million US dollars (£558m) 10-year deal which would make him the highest earner in major league baseball history, ended fevered speculation over his destination in a social media post on Saturday night.

Ohtani, the reigning American League Most Valuable Player, wrote on his official Instagram account: “To all the fans and everyone involved in the baseball world, I apologize for taking so long to come to a decision. I have decided to choose the Dodgers as my next team.

 

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Shohei Ohtani | 大谷翔平 (@shoheiohtani)

“First of all, 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.

“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.”

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.