Shohei Ohtani went into the offseason as the most coveted free agent in MLB history, and his market represented that as well. Among the interested teams at various points included the Los Angeles Dodgers, New York Mets, Toronto Blue Jays, Los Angeles Angels, Boston Red Sox, San Francisco Giants and Texas Rangers, among other teams.
Ohtani was said to have an affinity for remaining on the West Coast and reportedly viewed the Dodgers organization in high regard. Similarly, president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman was described as being determined to sign Ohtani, who the Dodgers had scouted in Japan several years ago.
Given Ohtani’s private nature, how the free agency process was going to unfold remained unclear. It was reported he wanted meetings to not be made public, and Ohtani would hold it against a team if that wasn’t the case.
That desire for privacy created some concern after Dodgers manager Dave Roberts revealed he met with Ohtani. But after weeks of speculation, Ohtani is indeed signing with the Dodgers. He made the announcement on Instagram, and Ohtani’s contract is for 10 years and $700 million.
Ohtani’s contract is largest in baseball and North American sports history.
The Dodgers were long considered by many the favorite to sign the two-way star, both because of their location and consistent ability to field a World Series contender.
While Ohtani often declined to discuss his future as free agency approached, he did make it clear that winning was a top priority.
The 29-year-old is coming off a season in which he batted .304/.412/.654 with 26 doubles, eight triples, 44 home runs, 95 RBI and 20 stolen bases in 599 plate appearances across 135 games. Prior to being shut down from pitching, he went 10-5 with a 3.14 ERA, 4.00 FIP, 1.06 WHIP and 11.4 strikeouts per nine in 23 starts.
Ohtani is not expected to pitch until the 2025 season due to recovering from a second Tommy John surgery.
Blue Jays made late push for Shohei Ohtani
While the Blue Jays were included among the group of finalists for Ohtani, they seemingly made a strong impression late in the process. However, the Dodgers ultimately won out on their top priority.
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