Shohei Ohtani makes his decision


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The biggest star in baseball has a new home. Shohei Ohtani has signed a 10-year, $700 million deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers, Jeff Passan is reporting.

Ohtani first came to the MLB in 2018 after playing five years with the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters of Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball. He signed with the Los Angeles Angels and won Rookie of the Year in 2018. After two injury-plagued seasons, Ohtani went on to take major league baseball by storm.

Ohtani has no parallel in baseball. In 2023, “Shotime” became the first player to unanimously win MVP twice. No player since Babe Ruth has contributed as both a hitter and pitcher in a meaningful way.

The two-time MVP hasn’t just contributed, either. He’s elite on both sides of the ball. During his 2023 MVP campaign, Ohtani finished with the fourth-best WAR (6.0) among American League position players, then separately finished with the fourth-best WAR (4.0) among American League pitchers. He led the American League with 44 home runs; his 3.14 ERA would have finished fourth-best among all AL starters if he qualified for end-of-season rankings.

There is some concern, however, that Ohani’s days as a two-way player may be numbered. The former Angel was ruled out for the remainder of the 2023 season for irritation in his right oblique. Ohtani underwent elbow surgery in September. The reported plan is to have Ohtani return to hitting without any restrictions by Opening Day 2024, but he will not be able to pitch until 2025.

Commercially, Ohtani is an international revenue powerhouse. The Japanese superstar was the highest-selling jersey in the league in 2023. In 2022, Ohtani broke a record for total brand endorsements for a single MLB player. Kansai University economist Katsuhiro Miyamoto estimated that in 2022, Ohtani’s estimated impact was an estimated $316 million across both the U.S. and Japanese economies.

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