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Shohei Ohtani to Sign $700 Million Deal with Los Angeles Dodgers, Smashing Records

Jiji Press
Shohei Ohtani plays for the Los Angeles Angels in July.

LOS ANGELES — Shohei Ohtani will join the Los Angeles Dodgers, he announced Saturday on Instagram.

According to his agent, the coveted two-way star will make $700 million (¥101.5 billion) under the 10-year deal, and Major League Baseball’s website reported it as the largest contract in sports history.

Ohtani’s deal blew past Mike Trout’s $426.5 million, 12-year contract inked in 2019 with the Los Angeles Angels — Ohtani’s former team — as well as soccer icon Lionel Messi’s $674 million deal with FC Barcelona.

Ohtani, 29, finished the season with 44 home runs, becoming the first Japanese to win the home run title in MLB history, and unanimously won two American League MVP awards, another first. Having undergone elbow surgery in September, Ohtani is expected to limit himself to hitting next season and to come back as a two-way player in 2025. Even so, he was in high demand as a free agent.

While the Angels never made the playoffs during Ohtani’s six years with the team, the Dodgers won the World Series seven times and the National League West nine times in the last 10 years. Many Japanese players, including Hideo Nomo, have played for the team.

Since he was playing for the Angels, based in Anaheim, Calif., Ohtani won’t have to move from neighboring Los Angeles, the home of the Dodgers. And the surgeon who operated on Ohtani’s right elbow is a Dodgers doctor, which should help his recovery go smoothly.

On Instagram, Ohtani posted in English: “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.”

Ohtani’s next team had been the topic of speculation this offseason, and the U.S. media had been reporting daily on where he would go. The Dodgers were thought the most likely destination if he left the Angels, but the Toronto Blue Jays and the San Francisco Giants were also thought contenders.