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Dodgers’ reported response to Shohei Ohtani’s $680 million deferral request: ‘Holy f***’

Shohei Ohtani’s $700 million contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers stunned the baseball world this offseason. It also reportedly stunned the Dodgers. A Sports Illustrated feature on Ohtani written by Tom Verducci and published ahead of his Dodgers debut in South Korea on Wednesday shed new light on how the two-way phenom’s contract came together

Dodgers’ reported response to Shohei Ohtani’s $680 million deferral request: ‘Holy f***’

Jack Baer

Shohei Ohtani‘s $700 million contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers shocked the baseball world this offseason. It additionally reportedly shocked the Dodgers.

A Sports Illustrated feature on Ohtani written by Tom Verducci and printed forward of his Dodgers debut in South Korea on Wednesday shed new gentle on how the two-way phenom’s contract got here collectively a number of months in the past — particularly, how the concept happened to defer $680 million until after the end of the contract.

Such a construction is with out precedent in baseball. A participant agreeing to an IOU for 97% of his contract cash is so team-friendly that Ohtani’s contract led to debates about whether or not MLB ought to act to shut what many referred to as a loophole. It is such a weird concept that it may solely have come from the participant himself, to enhance his new crew’s competitiveness.

Per SI, Ohtani’s agent, Nez Balelo, defined the proposal to Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman on Dec. 7, two days earlier than the deal was introduced. Friedman informed Verducci that the phrase “Deal!” instantly popped in his head, after which a number of extra popped out after the decision was over:

Friedman and Balelo, who nonetheless had different groups , agreed to speak once more the subsequent morning in additional element. After he hung up, Friedman dialed Dodgers president and CEO Stan Kasten.

“Holy f—,” Friedman stated.

“Is {that a} ‘Holy f—’ good or a ‘Holy f—’ unhealthy?” Kasten requested.

Excellent certainly.

Reasonably than paying Ohtani the $70 million common annual worth of his contract this 12 months, the Dodgers pays him $2 million. Then one other $2 million subsequent 12 months and yearly till 2033. Then they’ll pay him $68 million yearly, possible with the hope that Ohtani’s income streams will have already guaranteed he has paid for himself.

SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA - MARCH 18: Shohei Ohtani #17 of the Los Angeles Dodgers prepares at bat in the 5th inning during the exhibition game between Team Korea and Los Angeles Dodgers at Gocheok Sky Dome on March 18, 2024 in Seoul, South Korea. (Photo by Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images)

Shohei Ohtani’s contract may have solely come from Shohei Ohtani. (Picture by Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Pictures)

Financially, Ohtani pays the worth as a result of lack of curiosity within the later funds. That is a large enough issue that the MLB Gamers Affiliation calculated the precise present-day worth of Ohtani’s contract to be roughly $438 million, whereas MLB pegged it at $460 million.

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It will not be a complete loss, although, as Ohtani will keep away from giant quantities of California state earnings taxes. Verducci famous that the California Middle for Jobs and the Financial system has estimated that if Ohtani isn’t residing in California by the top of the contract, he may keep away from $98 million in earnings taxes.

California state controller Malia Cohen wasn’t amused, utilizing the information to call for a cap on contract deferrals.

Shohei Ohtani’s deferred cash unlocked the Dodgers’ offseason

Within the meantime, the Dodgers can use that $68 million on different issues, particularly ensuring that Ohtani wasn’t their solely splashy acquisition of the offseason. The identical day Ohtani was introduced as a Dodger in Los Angeles, the crew traded for former Tampa Bay Rays All-Star Tyler Glasnow. Then they signed one other Japanese free agent, Yoshinobu Yamamoto, to the largest contract ever for a pitcher, plus Teoscar Hernández (one year, $23.5 million) and James Paxton (one 12 months, $11 million).

By common wage, Glasnow, Hernández and Paxton will mix to make $61.5 million subsequent season — or $6.5 million lower than what Ohtani is deferring.

As Friedman stated throughout Ohtani’s convention, it is a deal any crew would’ve been afraid to pitch Ohtani, lest they insult him:

“I would not have had the center to suggest it, and it is what’s humorous about, ‘Oh, the Dodgers!’” Friedman stated. “I would not have had the center to have achieved that. However as [Balelo] walked via it and laid it out as we had been speaking, it was extremely per every thing he had stated all through the method. Typically you expertise that, however they do not sync up and match.”

The brand new-look Dodgers will make their debut within the wee hours of the morning Wednesday in L.A., with first pitch on the Gocheok Sky Dome scheduled for 3:05 a.m. PT towards the San Diego Padres.

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