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News in Pictures / Shohei Ohtani Signs Megadeal with Dodgers in Quest for Elusive Title

Ashley Landis / AP
The Los Angeles Dodgers’ Shohei Ohtani (17) poses for photos with, from left, general manager Brandon Gomes, manager Dave Roberts, president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman, owner & Chairman Mark Walter, President & CEO Stan Kasten, agent Nez Balelo and interpreter Ippei Mizuhara during a news conference at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles on Thursday.

Shohei Ohtani said the Dodgers’ thirst for World Series glory was ultimately what led the superstar to sign a record contract with the team and take a stunning salary deferral.

In front of a packed press conference at Dodger Stadium on Thursday, Ohtani said he wanted to build his legacy in the game after signing a 10-year, $700 million contract that includes deferring 97% of that money for a decade.

Marcio Jose Sanchez / AP
Ohtani, center, is interviewed on the field after a news conference at Dodger Stadium.
Marcio Jose Sanchez / AP
A sign in Japanese welcomes Ohtani.
Marcio Jose Sanchez / AP
Reporters cover a news conference for Shohei Ohtani at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles on Thursday

The dual-threat, two-time American League MVP said he did not settle on which team to suit up for until the night before he made his announcement in an Instagram post on Dec. 9.

“There are a lot of reasons I chose this team,” Ohtani, 29, said through his interpreter Ippei Mizuhara while donning a crisp, white Dodgers jersey.

“One thing that really stands out in my head is when I had the meeting with the Dodgers ownership group,” he said.

“They said that when they looked back at the last 10 years, even though they’ve made the playoffs every single year, they have only won one World Series ring, and they consider that a failure.

“When I heard that, I knew they were all about winning, and that’s exactly how I feel.”

Ohtani never competed in a playoff game in his six seasons with the Los Angeles Angels and now joins a Dodgers club which followed their 2020 World Series triumph with three straight 100-win seasons.

Off-season surgery will keep Ohtani off the mound next year, but he said he will be ready to hit on Opening Day.

With huge contracts come sky-high expectations from a Dodgers fan base and organization eager for another World Series trophy after the last three seasons ended in a post-season flop.

“I always love challenges and I feel like I’ll be facing a lot of new challenges as a Dodger,” Ohtani said. “I’m ready for it.”

Kohei Choji / The Yomiuri Shimbun
A fan of Ohtani wearing a Los Angeles Angels uniform shops for Los Angeles Dodgers goods in Shinjuku Ward, Tokyo, on Dec. 10.
Jiji Press
The Los Angeles Dodgers’ new No. 17 Ohtani model jersey is sold at a shop near Los Angeles on Dec. 12.
From Shohei Ohtani’s Instagram
A photo of Ohtani’s dog, named Dekopin in Japanese and Decoy in English, posted on his Instagram