LOS ANGELES — MLB superstar Shohei Ohtani is leaving the Angels, but he is not moving far.
The two-position star is moving across town, agreeing to a 10-year, $700 million contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers on Saturday.
Ohtani becomes the highest-paid player in MLB history, topping now-former teammate Mike Trout’s previous high of $426.5 million, the Los Angeles Times reported. His deal is also the largest contract for any individual in North American sports history, according to The Orange County Register.
Ohtani, 29, a two-time unanimous American League MVP, announced the move on his Instagram account. Ohtani, who has excelled as a pitcher and outfielder, leaves the Angels after six seasons, the Los Angeles Times reported.
“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,” Ohtani wrote.
Ohtani is the first player in baseball history to be named unanimous MVP on multiple occasions, winning this season and in 2021, ESPN reported. He has become baseball’s first two-way star since Babe Ruth pitched and played the outfield more than a century ago.
The native of Japan led the American League in home runs during the 2023 season with 44, according to Baseball-Reference.com. As a pitcher, the right-hander fashioned a 10-5 record and a 3.14 ERA in 23 appearances.
Due to an arm injury, Ohtani will not pitch for the Dodgers next year. But they will be able to use his big bat in the lineup.
Ohtani learned of a new tear in his ulnar collateral ligament, the second he has suffered in five years, on Aug. 23, ESPN reported. Nearly a month later, he underwent surgery.
Ohtani’s contract includes significant deferrals, the Register reported. That helps the Dodgers in terms of cash flow and the luxury tax.
“This is a unique, historic contract for a unique, historic player,” Ohtani’s agent, Nez Balelo, said in confirming the signing. “Shohei is thrilled to be a part of the Dodgers organization. He is excited to begin this partnership, and he structured his contract to reflect a true commitment from both sides to long-term success.
“Shohei and I want to thank all the organizations that reached out to us for their interest and respect, especially the wonderful people we got to know even better as this process unfolded. We know fans, media and the entire industry had a high degree of interest in this process, and we want to express our appreciation for their passion and their consideration as it played out.”
“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,” Ohtani wrote. “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.”
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