The construction of Shohei Ohtani’s contract is insane

MLB: JUL 18 Yankees at Angels

Like most people hanging around their phone on Saturday afternoon, my jaw hit the floor when the notification popped up that Shohei Ohtani was inking a 10-year, $700 million contract.

That’s just an absurd number even for someone as unique as Ohtani, especially since nobody is quite sure what to expect out of him as a pitcher after undergoing his second Tommy John surgery. However, it’s since been revealed how the Dodgers constructed the contract, making it much more palatable, and frankly, it’s insane for the spot of baseball that this is even allowed.

Over the next ten seasons, Ohtani will only be paid $2 million. That’s a total of $20 million out of the $700 million the Dodgers owe him. Los Angeles will then pay Ohtani $68 million a year deferred from 2034 to 2043, making his CBT hit $46 million.

Ohtani is going to be just fine, and he knows that. He was already making $40 million per season outside of baseball while on the Angels, and that number is likely to increase significantly now that he’s on the Dodgers. Ohtani also doesn’t have to suffer from the hefty taxes in the state of California if he moves after he decides to retire.

On the other hand, the Dodgers make out like bandits. They are essentially getting a $680 million interest free loan that allows them to spend more freely over the duration of Ohtani’s contract. Entering free agency, Ohtani said his top priority when picking a team was winning, and he’s putting his money where his mouth is. Few players would be willing to give up that much cash right now with no interest for the good of the team. Ohtani is one of them, and the Dodgers will be able to continue to build around the three-headed monster of Shohei Ohtani, Freddie Freeman, and Mookie Betts for years to come.

Many baseball fans are understandably upset and stunned by the fact that this is even allowed, and who could blame them? Baseball already doesn’t have a hard cap, which gives a significant advantage to teams with more money. Now, a club like the Dodgers, who already have more money than anyone, is able to skirt around the rules to create their own version of a super team. It may not be fair, but kudos to the Dodgers for using everything possible to their advantage. You can’t blame them because a rule shouldn’t be allowed in the first place. They are just working within the confines of the CBA agreement, and every team can negotiate similar contracts with other players if they are willing.

Major League Baseball has a lot of work they need to do when it comes to the rules of the game. They made some fantastic adjustments this past season with the bigger bases, the pitch clock, and other rule changes. However, allowing something like this is going to turn a lot of fans off, especially ones of smaller market teams. This is probably something that will be adjusted when the CBA ends following the 2026 season, but it’s something that never should have been allowed and really puts a damper on what should have been a memorable day for baseball.

Shohei Ohtani is one of the brightest stars this sport has ever seen, and now all that will be remembered about this record breaking deal is how absurdly favorable it is constructed for the Dodgers and whether something like this ever should have been allowed in the first place.

There are new villains in Major League Baseball — the Los Angeles Dodgers, headlined by the once beloved Shohei Ohtani.

Photo: John Cordes/Icon Sportswire

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