Shohei Ohtani explains why he chose to defer majority of $700M contract

Shohei Ohtani signed a $700 million deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers, shattering the previous MLB record set by former teammate Mike Trout, who inked a $426 million deal in 2019.

That was jaw-dropping enough. 

Then, news dropped Ohtani would defer $680 million of that until 2034.

Despite the annual average value of Ohtani’s deal being $70 million, he will be making just $2 million per year the next 10 years, then $68 million annually from 2034 to 2043.

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Ohtani’s compensation will still register as a $46 million cap hit because of the calculations of the deferrals by Major League Baseball.

The 29-year-old was officially introduced as a member of the Dodgers Thursday at Dodger Stadium, and he explained why he decided to defer over 97% of the money until after the contract ends.

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“I was looking into it, doing some calculations, and I figured if I can defer as much money as I can, that’s gonna help the (collective bargaining tax). That’s gonna help the Dodgers and be able to sign better players and make a better team,” he said. “I felt like that was worth it, and I was willing to go in that direction. That’s why I made that choice.”

Ohtani joins Bobby Bonilla, Ken Griffey Jr., Chris Davis and Max Scherzer as players with unusual deferred deals.

San Francisco Giants president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi revealed his team also offered Ohtani $700 million, before Ohtani signed with LA.

At the plate, Ohtani led the majors in 2023 with a .654 slugging percentage and 1.066 OPS. His .412 on-base percentage was second, his 44 homers were fourth and his .304 average ranked ninth. On the mound, he went 10-5 with a 3.14 ERA and 167 strikeouts in 132 innings. Among pitchers who threw 130 innings, his ERA was the ninth-lowest in the majors, and his K/9 was sixth.

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