This winter’s Major League transfer market is expected to be filled with one player’s name. The main character is Shohei Otani (29, LA Angels), who will become a free agent (FA )카지노사이트 after this season. It is the biggest free agent and the first topic in North American sports history is whether the total will exceed $500 million.
Until three months ago, Ohtani’s $500 million contract seemed certain. There was even an opinion that more than $600 million was possible if the contract period was long. The product quality is so outstanding. As a hitter, Ohtani has the records to challenge for the season’s Most Valuable Player (MVP) title. He has the potential to challenge for the Cy Young Award as a pitcher, and was actually fourth in American League Cy Young Award voting last year. Since he has both in one body, his value is bound to explode.
Ohtani is the biggest star in the major leagues, and everyone is following his every move. It is a great help in marketing and box office success. Considering this, it seemed like a foregone conclusion that Mike Trout (LA Angels) would surpass the largest contract in Major League history (12 years, $426.5 million in total). But a recent elbow injury could change a lot of things.
Ohtani was diagnosed with a ruptured right elbow ligament while pitching. It is a different area than when I had my first elbow ligament reconstruction surgery (Tommy John surgery) in 2018. For this reason, there are positive views that recovery will be relatively fast, but in any case, if he goes on the operating table, it will be difficult to pitch not only in 2024 but also in the first half of 2025. Since he underwent two elbow surgeries in 5 years, his pitching level after his return cannot be guaranteed. This is an issue that will only be known at that time, and it is difficult for anyone to predict now.
What’s special about Ohtani is that he has excellent skills as both a pitcher and a hitter. If the value as a pitcher is excluded, it is natural for the price to drop. Looking at his offensive production alone, it cannot be said to be better than Aaron Judge, who signed a nine-year, $360 million contract with the New York Yankees after last season.
However, there are also predictions that the surgery will not have a significant impact on his value. That’s according to a survey by Jim Borden, a columnist for the North American sports media outlet ‘The Athletic’ and former major league general manager. Bowden conducted anonymous interviews with more than 12 high-ranking officials from major league clubs on the 9th (Korean time). Club officials expressed various opinions, but believed that an astronomical amount of money would still be needed to recruit Ohtani.
▲ Opinions are divided as to how Ohtani’s elbow injury will affect his free agency value.
▲ The possibility of Ohtani signing a contract that includes a large amount of pitcher incentives is also being raised.
▲ There is also a prediction that even if Ohtani cannot pitch, he will need $500 million.
Front office executives had mixed opinions about how the elbow injury would affect Ohtani’s next contract, Borden said. “Some executives thought his contract would start at more than Judge’s $360 million, but not the $500 million that Ohtani valued.” “It was expected to include incentives to get into the range of $600 million to $600 million,” he said.
It is expected that the guaranteed amount will be set at the deterrent level and that incentives will be added to increase the total amount. For example, if you perform well as a pitcher, you receive a lot of incentives every year. The club can reduce the risk burden, and Ohtani can increase the total amount, so it is a possible contract structure if he is confident in his recovery from injury.
Borden continued, “Some executives have expressed the opinion that Ohtani is a very special talent and a very special case, so even if he can’t pitch again, it would take $500 million to bring him back.” “He will be a top player, the face of the major leagues, his global appeal will add significant financial value to the franchise, and we believe he has the potential to fully recover from his injury.”
Borden predicted that Ohtani’s selection criteria would ultimately be ‘a winning team.’ In any case, the amount that a club can offer is limited, and there is a possibility that the difference between each club will not be large. It is predicted that if Ohtani is priced similarly, he will choose a team that can win the World Series. “Ohtani wants to be front and center on the biggest stage,” Borden said.
Borden pointed out the LA Dodgers, Texas, Seattle, New York Mets, Boston, San Diego, San Francisco, Chicago Cubs, Philadelphia, and Toronto as expected destinations for Ohtani. As expected, first place was the Dodgers, who were considered most likely to recruit Ohtani.
▲ Dodgers President Andrew Friedman tapping a calculator to recruit Ohtani
▲ The Dodgers have already signed long-term contracts with Freeman (left) and Betts, and if Ohtani is added, they can build a powerful batting lineup.
Borden said the Dodgers kept themselves under the luxury tax threshold to sign Ohtani in the offseason. Nevertheless, owner Mark Walter said he would not place financial limits on President Andrew Friedman’s efforts to make the Dodgers better, adding, “Can you imagine Ohtani between Mookie Betts and Freddie Freeman? “Is there a better Hollywood script like the Dodgers recruiting Ohtani as a free agent?” he said, predicting the possibility of Ohtani being recruited as high.
In fact, the Dodgers are one of the few teams in the league that can afford Ohtani’s price, and are a strong team that is in the championship bracket every year. Otani is also familiar with life near LA. Additionally, the Dodgers have a very special relationship with Japanese players. In many ways, this is a team that seems likely to recruit Ohtani.