I can’t wait to be with the Dodgers. I want to win a World Series.”
Shohei Ohtani (29, Los Angeles Dodgers), the “Seven Billion Dollar Man,” finally made his public debut in a Dodger uniform. Ohtani attended an introductory press conference at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, California, U.S., on July 15 (KST) and expressed his excitement to begin a great journey with the Dodgers.
U.S. media reported in unison on Tuesday that Ohtani and the Dodgers had agreed to a mega contract totaling $700 million (90.51 billion won) over 10 years. It didn’t hurt that he won’t be able to take the mound next year after elbow surgery. Even before he hit free agency, it was widely expected that Ohtani would sign a mega-deal worth $500 million, and as the bidding war for him really heated up after the opening day, there was even talk of $600 million, but $700 million is still quite a shocker. It was the highest ever in professional sports, let alone Major League Baseball.월카지노
“I’d like to thank everyone who took the time to attend my induction ceremony. I want to thank the Dodgers organization, owner Mark Walter, president Andrew Friedman, and manager Dave Roberts for giving me the opportunity to play here. I also want to thank the Angels organization for the past six years. I’ll never forget the memories of the last six years, and I’m grateful to everyone who helped me through the process. I’m really looking forward to joining the Dodgers.”
Coverage of the induction ceremony was intense. In the days leading up to the ceremony, Otani was surprised to see a line of reporters lined up outside Dodger Stadium. The American sports media outlet The Athletic published a photo of the line and captioned it, “Media line 80 minutes before Ohtani’s induction ceremony,” to convey the intensity.
Ohtani expressed his gratitude, saying, “I was told that only the media would be attending today (the 15th), but I was surprised to see so many people there.”
Dodgers President of Baseball Operations Friedman said, “We are excited to introduce Ohtani to Dodger fans around the world. He’s a great player off the field, not to mention on the field,” said Athletic Director of Baseball Athletic Friedman, expressing his excitement for the superstar.
Dodgers owner Walter Reed personally presented Ohtani with a jersey emblazoned with the number 17, and Friedman posed for a photo with him. A question-and-answer period followed.
On why he chose the Dodgers, Ohtani said, “I met and talked to a few teams, and I liked all the teams I met and talked to. I had to choose one team, and it was the Dodgers. I think it would be rude to say any other team because the Stobrig is going on right now. The key reason I chose the Dodgers was that when I met with them, they told me that they consider winning one World Series in the last 10 years to be a failure,” he said.
“I want to win a World Series, and I want people to look back on that championship and say that I was a key member, a big part of that championship team.”
He was also asked about his elbow surgery, which is key to whether or not he will return to the mound. Ohtani underwent elbow surgery last September under the guidance of Dr. Neil Ellatrache, who said it was not a traditional Tommy John surgery. At the time, Dr. Ellatrache said, “After careful consideration with him, the final conclusion was to address the problem at hand, reinforce the healthy ligaments, and add tissue to prolong the life of the elbow.”
Ohtani confirmed that the procedure was “completely different” from his first Tommy John surgery in 2018, saying, “I recently started taking light swings and I’m working on getting myself in shape to play on Opening Day. I think I’ll be able to play as a designated hitter on Opening Day.”
Ohtani’s $700 million contract came as another surprise, as it included unique details. Of the $700 million, $680 million will be paid posthumously. Ohtani will live off his salary ($20 million per year) for the next 10 years of his contract, and then receive the remaining $680 million in installments from 2034 through 2043, when the 10-year deal ends. He doesn’t want his price tag to get in the way of the Dodgers building a championship team.
The deal also included an opt-out clause in case either Walter or Friedman left the team. An opt-out is a player’s right to declare free agency rather than forfeit the remainder of his contract. If a change in leadership changes the direction of the team, Ohtani could leave at any time. “It’s probably the first time a player’s contract has ever included a clause like this,” an MLB executive told USA Today.
On the inclusion of the opt-out clause, Ohtani said, “This is a team that’s all on the same page to win. Owner Walter and President Friedman are the two people who run this team. I think we signed them, and I think it’s out of their control if one of them is gone. I wanted to put safeguards in place.” “It was my idea. I thought of a way to make it less onerous for the club.”
When asked how many Dodger fans he knows, Ohtani said, “Even when I played in Anaheim (Angels affiliate) for the last six years, half of the stadium was blue (Dodger colors). I know how passionate Dodger fans are,” he said, adding that he hopes to live up to their expectations.
Another issue was Ohtani’s dog, who joined him at this year’s MVP presentation. Until now, the dog’s name hadn’t been revealed, and when asked, Ohtani said it was “Decoy”. The U.S. media broke the story as “Ohtani’s dog is named Decoy,” which caused some laughs.
Ohtani appeared in 135 games as a hitter this year, batting .304 (151-for-497) with an OPS of 1.066, 44 home runs, 95 RBIs, and 102 runs scored, and started 23 games as a pitcher, going 10-5 with a record of 132 innings pitched, 167 strikeouts, and an ERA of 3. 14, while remaining one of the best pitchers in the majors despite injuries, and becoming the first two-time unanimous American League MVP (2021 and 2023), he continues to live up to his “unicorn” and “superstar” monikers.
Ohtani made his big league debut with the Los Angeles Angels in 2018 and has proven that he can be a two-way player over the course of his six seasons. As a hitter, he played 701 games, batting .274 (2483-for-681) with 171 home runs, 437 RBI, and a .922 OPS. As a pitcher, he started 86 games in five seasons before missing the 2019 season due to elbow surgery. He compiled a 38-19 record, 481⅔ innings pitched, 608 strikeouts, and a 3.01 ERA.
In a Dodgers uniform, it will be interesting to see if Ohtani can continue to be the two-way star that he has been for the past six years with the Angels.