Weeks of speculation and anticipation came to an end on Saturday afternoon when Shohei Ohtani announced he was signing with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Ohtani revealed the news through an Instagram post, and it was quickly accompanied by a statement from his agent, Nez Balelo of Creative Artists Agency (CAA).
“This is a unique, historic contract for a unique, historic player,” Balelo said. “Shohei is thrilled to be a part of the Dodgers organization. He is excited to begin this partnership, and he structured his contract to reflect a true commitment from both sides to long-term success.
“Shohei and I want to thank all the organizations that reached out to us for their interest and respect, especially the wonderful people we got to know even better as this process unfolded. We know fans, media and the entire industry had a high degree of interest in this process, and we want to express our appreciation for their passion and their consideration as it played out.”
Ohtani’s free agency process was shrouded in secrecy, at the reported request from the two-way superstar and Balelo. A similar process unfolded when Ohtani was posted as an amateur free agent for MLB teams to negotiate with in 2017.
Ohtani are Balelo were said to have informed teams that leaks about meetings or other matters pertaining to free agency would be held against them. So manager Dave Roberts raised eyebrows when he revealed at the Winter Meetings the Dodgers were days removed from hosting Ohtani at Dodger Stadium.
Roberts explained he did not want to lie in response to a direct question about Ohtani, and believed the request for privacy was still being honored because details from the conversation weren’t divulged.
Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman and general manager weren’t sure what impact, if any, Roberts’ remarks were going to have on their pursuit of Ohtani. Four days later, any concern was put to rest.
Shohei Ohtani contract details
Ohtani’s 10-year contract reportedly does not include any opt-out clauses and at $700 million is the richest deal in professional sports history by besting the $674 million Lionel Messi received from FC Barcelona.
The previous MLB record belonged to Mike Trout, who signed a 12-year, $426.5 million contract extension with the Angels in March 2019.
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