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Sunday, June 16, 2024

Ohtani’s Next Contract Will Bring Historic Sums, Big Risks

  • Two-way phenom projected to gain contract worth at least $500 million
  • Anticipated deal carries sizable financial risks
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Shohei Ohtani is poised to shatter MLB free-agency records this winter — but will it be a wise business decision to sign him?

As the Los Angeles Angels’ two-way phenom gets set to start Tuesday’s All-Star Game in Seattle — and is again the talk of the sport amid another historic season — a contract in excess of $500 million appears all but certain. 

That number would easily set league records for both total size and average annual value — but Ohtani could ultimately command $600 million.

“He’s going to get a lot of money, and he deserves it. There’s no other player like him,” said Atlanta Braves catcher Sean Murphy.

Ohtani drives a wide range of fan engagement and revenue metrics for the Angels and MLB. His jersey ranks second in MLBShop.com sales this season, and he has built an endorsement portfolio valued at an annual $35 million. But he’s getting tired of losing on an Angels team that hasn’t reached the postseason since 2014 and is continually beset with ownership and stadium issues.

Contract Caveats

Signing Ohtani to such a gigantic contract will almost certainly raise unprecedented questions about MLB payroll management. A deal would likely commit the signing club to a top-tier payroll for nearly a decade at a time when the link between player spending and on-field success is being inverted like never before — and MLB pitcher injuries remain problematic.

The Angels also could potentially trade Ohtani at the Aug. 1 deadline in order to gain a better return, instead of losing him in free agency.

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