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Shohei Ohtani’s Legend, Future Asking Price Grow at WBC

  • Ohtani was named World Baseball Classic MVP for his hitting and pitching performances.
  • The Japanese phenom could sign a record MLB contract next offseason.
Japan pitcher Shohei Ohtani celebrates after defeating the USA in the World Baseball Classic
Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports
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You couldn’t script a better ending to a game-changing World Baseball Classic — or for its MVP.

With two outs in the top of the ninth of a one-run championship game between the U.S. and Japan, Mike Trout stepped into the box to face Los Angeles Angels teammate Shohei Ohtani.

After working the count full with multiple 100-mph fastballs, Ohtani put Trout away with a killer slider for the save, lifting Japan to its third WBC title — two more than any other nation.

The Japanese phenom — who finished the WBC hitting .435 with a 1.345 OPS, four doubles, and a homer while pitching a 1.86 ERA with a 0.72 WHIP and 11 strikeouts in 9.2 innings — was awarded tournament MVP.

His triumph will only amplify speculation as to where he could sign as a free agent in 2024, assuming the Angels again fail to capitalize on his generational talent.

The 2021 American League MVP will make $30 million this year — the largest salary ever for an arbitration-eligible player.

This season, MLB’s top-paid pitchers, Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander, will each make $43.3 million. The top hitter, Aaron Judge, will make $40 million.

Considering Ohtani’s immense talent on both sides of the ball, a record salary extrapolated over a long-term contract could easily make him baseball’s first $500 million man.

Teams in the mix could include the big-spending New York Mets, Los Angeles Dodgers, San Diego Padres, and New York Yankees.

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