Can Shohei Ohtani Opt Out Of Dodgers Contract Because Ippei Mizuhara Was Fired?

While the Los Angeles Dodgers are in the midst of finishing the Seoul Series in a landmark MLB trip to South Korea, controversy struck the team related to their biggest superstar, Shohei Ohtani.

Ippei Mizuhara, Ohtani’s longtime interpreter, was fired by the Dodgers due to alleged involvement in an illegal gambling scheme. Ohtani’s attorneys also believe Mizuhara stole millions from Ohtani to gamble.

Mizuhara was with the Dodgers for the Seoul Series and was seen during the team’s first media availability session. He was also in the dugout on Opening Day.

After the Dodgers’ win to open their season, Mizuhara addressed the clubhouse regarding the allegations and took full responsibility to clear Ohtani while admitting to a gambling addiction.

However, Mizuhara’s stance and claims changed in interviews with ESPN. Mizuhara first stated he asked Ohtani to help pay off gambling debts and an agreement was reached.

Mizuhara then told ESPN that Ohtani never transferred money and wasn’t aware of his illegal betting activity.

MLB has a policy that prohibits “any player, umpire, or Club or League official or employee” from betting on baseball or making illegal bets involving other sports.

If personnel is found to have participated in such acts, punishment is “such penalty as the Commissioner deems appropriate in light of the facts and circumstances of the conduct.”

Can Shohei Ohtani opt out after Ippei Mizuhara was fired?

Ohtani is not able to opt out from his Dodgers contract following the firing of Mizuhara. Ohtani’s contract only stipulates that he’s guaranteed an interpreter from the team.

Ohtani’s opt-outs are tied to Dodgers controlling owner Mark Walter and president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman to help guarantee some stability within the organization.

While on the Angels, Ohtani saw numerous changes to the front office and coaching staff, and team owner Arte Moreno also considered a sale of the team before changing course.

So the Dodgers will need to replace Mizuhara with a new interpreter for Ohtani, who remains under contract with the team.

In the meantime, the Dodgers have turned to Will Ireton to serve in the role for Ohtani.

Ireton was Kenta Maeda’s interpreter prior to becoming part of the Dodgers baseball operations department.

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