February 29, 2024

Shohei Ohtani’s contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers is easily the most talked about in sports for a variety of reasons.

For one, it’s worth $700 million, by far the largest in North American sports.

Ohtani also decided to defer $680 million until after his 10-year pact ends.

So, he’ll be making just $2 million with the Dodgers annually over the next decade.  

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Ohtani with Andrew Friedman and Mark Walter

Shohei Ohtani, center, poses for a photo with owner and chairman Mark Walter, left, and president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman at Dodger Stadium Dec. 14, 2023, in Los Angeles. (Meg Oliphant/Getty Images)

But there’s another oddity in the contract. 

It allows Ohtani to opt out of his deal if either owner Mark Walter sells the team or president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman leaves the organization.

When Ohtani was officially introduced as a Dodger Thursday, he explained why he wanted to have the “safety net” in his deal.

Shohei Ohtani laughing

Shohei Ohtani speaks with Mark Walter, Dodgers owner and chairman, and Stan Kasten, Dodgers president and CEO, at Dodger Stadium Dec. 14, 2023, in Los Angeles.  (Meg Oliphant/Getty Images)

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“Everybody has to be on the same page in order to have a winning organization,” Ohtani said. “I feel like those two are at the top of it, and they’re in control of everything. I feel almost like I’m having a contract with those two guys. I feel like if one of them are gone, then things might get a little out of control. I just wanted, like, a safety net.”

Friedman was hired by the Dodgers in 2014 after spending a decade with the Tampa Bay Rays. And Ohtani’s deal appears to give Friedman some job security. 

The Dodgers have won nine division titles, three pennants and the 2020 World Series under Friedman.

Shoehi Ohtani introduced as Dodger

Shohei Ohtani is introduced by the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium Dec. 14, 2023, in Los Angeles.  (Meg Oliphant/Getty Images)

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Walter is the controlling owner of the club as part of the Guggenheim group that bought the team in 2012 for $2.15 billion.

In his MLB career, Ohtani has a .922 OPS and a 3.01 ERA, ranking eighth and 10th in the majors, respectively, since his career began in 2018.

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