Shohei Ohtani's free agency was the most anticipated saga in baseball this offseason. After rumors were flying around all over the place on Friday, he announced his decision to sign with the Los Angeles Dodgers for 10 years and $700 million on Saturday.
The contract easily becomes the largest in both baseball and North American sports history, as he'll earn a whopping $70 million per year, with plenty of deferred payments and no opt outs in the contract.
Ohtani signing with the Dodgers should come as a massive relief to both the Orioles and the fanbase. The Toronto Blue Jays, a division rival of the Orioles, were seen as favorites to land Ohtani in recent days. With Ohtani staying in California, the Orioles just dodged a $700 million bullet.
Shohei Ohtani staying on the west coast should be welcome news to the Orioles
The biggest reason for relief is that the Orioles won't have Ohtani playing for a division rival, so they don't have to deal with his incredible talents working to beat them for 13 games a season, potentially more if they ever met in the playoffs.
Instead, the Orioles will only have to deal with Ohtani either three or four times a season. This year, it's three, as the Orioles travel to play the Dodgers from August 27-29 as they embark on a western road trip that also has a stop in Denver to play the Colorado Rockies. For 2024, they'll only have to deal with Ohtani the hitter, as he won't pitch during his recovery from Tommy John Surgery.
To give Ohtani's contract some more mind-blowing context, the Orioles ended last season with a payroll just above $71 million, according to Spotrac. Ohtani himself nearly matches that total with $70 million a year. Ohtani's salary is also higher than the Oakland Athletics season-ending payroll, with the A's sitting at just over $62 million to end 2023.
Ohtani's contract is nothing short of mind-blowing. It's well deserved, given the incredible baseball talent he possesses both on the mound and at the plate, to go with the hundreds of millions of dollars he'll bring in on advertising and ticket sales alone. For the Orioles' sake, we're grateful he'll be doing that on the west coast and not for a division rival.