Shohei Ohtani got crazy dollars, but won't be coming to the AL East at least

Hey, O’s fans look at it this way – the O’s Opening Day opponent just became a weaker team. The O’s host the Los Angeles Angels on March 28 to start a new season. And look at it this way – Shohei Ohtani is not coming to the American League East.

Juan Soto is headed our way, but Ohtani is not after agreeing to a staggering deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers for 10 years and $700 million.

When free agency began it was thought Ohtani’s deal might start with a five in front of it. But not a six, right? Well right, it was not a six.

While we wait to find out if this deal does indeed include a massive amount of deferred money, the $70 million dollar average annual value tops the Oakland Athletics entire season payroll for 2023 of $62.2 million per Sportrac. The Orioles, per that outlet, were at $71.1 million for last season.

Ohtani’s deal is such a whopper it doubles the combined totals of the previous two biggest MLB free agent contracts which were the Aaron Judge deal last year of nine years for $360 million and Bryce Harper’s Phillies deal of 13 years for $330 million.

Mike Trout’s $426.5 million dollar deal was officially an extension and not a free agent contract. At $70 million average value per year, Ohtani’s deal works out to $11.67 million per month over a six-month season and to $432,098 per game over a 162-game season.

Reports said it exceeded any deal ever given a pro athlete in North America. Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes got a $450 million dollar deal. Soccer star Lionel Messi signed for $674 million in 2017 with FC Barcelona.

Is Ohtani worth that? Heck, is anyone ever? But one outlet stated that he would produce $50 million per year for the Dodgers in marketing and licensing deals.

The money is crazy and now the Dodgers could start a lineup with a top three of Mookie Betts, Ohtani and Freddie Freeman in some order. They have combined for four MVP awards. Ohtani himself would probably have three straight MVPs (he won in 2021 and 2023) had Judge not hit 62 homers in the 2022 season.

Ohtani now could join Frank Robinson as the only players in MLB history to win MVP awards in both leagues. The Orioles will face the Dodgers once this year by the way, on Aug. 27-29 at Dodger Stadium.

Last season in just 135 games, Ohtani hit .304/.412/.654/.1.066 with 26 doubles, eight triples, 44 homers, 102 runs, 20 steals and 95 RBIs. He had a 3.14 ERA in the mound in 23 starts, but September surgery will keep him from pitching until the 2025 season. Didn't hurt him when it came to the dollars however.

He is basically a modern day Babe Ruth and in 2023 produced an OPS+ of 184 and an ERA+ of 142.

But as the 2024 season begins, no doubt some fans around baseball will be rooting against the Dodgers and their $700 million dollar man. And as great as Ohtani is, he played with Trout with the Angels and they never made the playoffs. They never came close. Ohtani has been with the Angels since 2018 and in five full seasons since then, the Angels averaged just 75 wins. In six seasons, they never had one winning season with Ohtani. Not one.

But the Dodgers are already a great team. The rich and the great got richer and greater I guess. They have won the NL West in 10 of the last 11 years, have won 100 or in five of the last six full seasons and won the 2020 World Series. Ohtani now joins a club that won 100 games last year while ranking second in the majors in runs per game (5.59) and with a .795 team OPS.

Ohtani with the Dodgers should be something to watch. But at least we won’t be watching it in the AL East.



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