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Thursday February 29, 2024

Baseball star Shohei Ohtani strikes record $700m deal with LA Dodgers

Ohtani was the most coveted baseball player in his sport

By Web Desk
December 10, 2023
Shohei Ohtani in his LA Dodgers jersey. — X/@ArashMarkazi
 Shohei Ohtani in his LA Dodgers jersey. — X/@ArashMarkazi 

Japanese baseball sensation Shohei Ohtani has joined the Los Angeles Dodgers in the history of the sport's most expensive deal involving a 10-year contract, the BBC reported.

Ohtani’s $700 million contract is the largest ever in US Major League Baseball (MLB), making the baseball pro one of the world's highest-earning athletes.

The 29-year-old designated hitter, considered one of the best in baseball, has been the most sought-after target, and his move to the Dodgers follows weeks of speculation about his future.

A major bidding war for his signature began when Ohtani opted to leave the Los Angeles Angels as a free agent after his contract expired following a six-year stint, the BBC reported.

The contract's claimed worth is on par with, if not more than, the kinds of sums that legendary players like basketball player LeBron James and football player Lionel Messi have commanded.

Ohtani, a skilled baseball player nicknamed “Shotime”, won the American League MVP award in 2021 and 2023, despite being cut short by injury.

He has showcased his versatility in both batting and pitching disciplines which has been commended by fans and pundits for transforming how the sport is played in the modern era.

In March, he guided Japan to a historic triumph over the US in the World Baseball Classic championship game, marking a significant turning point for a nation where baseball is the most popular sport.

In a statement posted on Instagram, Ohtani said the Angels would be "etched in my heart forever", adding: "Until the last day of my playing career, I want to continue to strive forward not only for the Dodgers but for the baseball world."