Los Angeles Angels star Shohei Ohtani will make $30 million in 2023 after he and the team agreed to a one-year contract for next season to avoid arbitration.
The contract is the largest ever for an arbitration-eligible player, surpassing the $27 million given to Mookie Betts by the Boston Red Sox in January 2020, a month before he was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers. Ohtani’s deal is fully guaranteed with no other provisions.
Ohtani, who is making $5.5 million this year, will be a free agent after the 2023 season.
The Saturday announcement comes amid a 15-game hitting streak and a near no-hit performance Thursday by Ohtani, the reigning American League MVP who regularly accomplishes feats that haven’t occurred in the major leagues since Babe Ruth’s heyday. He is a strong contender for the MVP award again alongside the New York Yankees‘ Aaron Judge, who has tied the AL home run record and is closing in on the batting Triple Crown.
On the mound, Ohtani’s 15 victories rank fourth in the AL, his 213 strikeouts are third and his 2.35 ERA is fourth. At the plate, he is fourth in the league with 34 home runs and seventh with 94 RBIs.
Ohtani is at 161 innings pitched, one inning shy of assuring he will qualify among the league leaders when the season ends. Ohtani is likely to pitch in the season finale at Oakland on Wednesday.
His future could be tied to the immediate fortunes of the Angels, who will complete their seventh consecutive losing season next week. The Angels didn’t trade Ohtani at the deadline despite being out of the playoff race again.
He repeatedly has said winning will be an important factor in choosing his home beyond 2023, and Angels owner Arte Moreno is exploring a sale of the team.
Moreno’s leadership has been widely criticized during the Angels’ mostly miserable run of play since 2009, and a fresh start with deep-pocketed new owners could be the best chance to persuade Ohtani to stay with the franchise he joined in 2018 from Japan. Ohtani immediately won the AL Rookie of the Year award, and he rounded into unique form last season after recovering fully from Tommy John surgery.
Information from ESPN’s Jeff Passan and The Associated Press was used in this report.
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