Tony Clark: MLB Players Association Stands By Shohei Ohtani’s Deferrals In Dodgers Contract

Shohei Ohtani and the Los Angeles Dodgers’ historic 10-year, $700 million contract agreement took the baseball world by surprise, and it included many who were upset by the deal.

The contract includes a record overall value, while containing $680 million of deferred money until after his time with the Dodgers. Ohtani offered the same contract structure to all teams, allowing for a higher degree of roster flexibility.

Ohtani will receive just $2 million per season in base salary, but the unprecedented deferrals caused a stir and an outcry of the terms being unfair. However, MLB Players Association president Tony Clark defended the deal, calling it another avenue of contract negotiations, per Jack Harris of the L.A. Times:

“We want the players and their individual representation to have as many tools in the tool bag to work with teams to find common ground,” Clark said in an interview with The Times. “All of those things we should assume to be correct.”

Ohtani desired a situation where he was able to win, while also receiving fair compensation for his value both on and off the field. Without the deferrals, he may have found a more difficult time meeting both criteria:

“For us, the fundamental simply is making sure that the player, the individual representative and the teams that may be otherwise engaged have as many options at their disposal [as possible],” Clark said.

“It’s the rights that the players have, that they can choose to use in the fashion that they deem fit,” he added. “We offer them perspective. We offer them history. We offer them any information to help them make the best decision they can themselves. So if a player decides to do what Shohei did, they can make that determination. If another player comes in and he wants and finds a team that’s willing to have their contract all in present value, that’s fine as well.”

Ohtani’s average annual value (AAV) has settled in at $46.06 million against the competitive balance tax (CBT), a far cry from what it would be without the deferrals.

The Dodgers utilized the money saved from the unique contract and continued their spending, adding Tyler Glasnow, Yoshinobu Yamamoto, Teoscar Hernández, Clayton Kershaw, and a number of players on one-year contracts.

Shohei Ohtani’s marriage did not affect negotiations

There were various factors Ohtani took into consideration before making his monumental decision to choose the Dodgers over the likes of the Toronto Blue Jays, San Francisco Giants and Los Angeles Angels. However, his personal life and relationships were not among those factors.

“That had absolutely nothing to do with free agency. She has a great understanding of my profession and she’s willing to be wherever I want to play at. Ultimately, it was up to me. So it had nothing to do with it,” Ohtani recently said.

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