Major League Baseball superstar Shohei Ohtani, who has been likened to the legendary Babe Ruth for his ability to hit home runs and pitch, has announced he will sign with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Ohtani, 29, who is fresh off his second American League Most Valuable Player award, announced the signing on Instagram. ESPN reported that the 10-year deal is worth $700 million.
“To all Dodgers fans, I pledge to always do what’s best for the team and always continue to give it my all to be the best version of myself,” Ohtani said on Instagram, adding that he’ll hold a press conference at a later date.
As one of the top players to ever hit the MLB free agent market, Ohtani was courted by several teams including the Dodgers and Chicago Cubs.
Since arriving to the US in 2018, Ohtani has been one of the faces of baseball around the world. He grabbed the attention of fans in the US immediately after his debut with the Los Angeles Angels thanks to his unique ability to be both a starting pitcher and a power hitter.
“He’s transcended baseball,” said Bob Dorfman a sports marketing analyst at Pinnacle Advertising, “He’s iconic now.”
Ohtani is coming off Tommy John surgery to repair his throwing elbow. While recovery from that type of surgery can take about a year, he is expected to play as a designated hitter until he’s medically cleared to throw again.
Even without taking the mound, Ohtani’s value to the Dodgers as a hitter is likely to be worth $35 million to $40 million this coming season, according to Vince Gennaro, associate dean at the NYU Preston Robert Tisch Institute for Global Sport and author of “Diamond Dollars: The Economics of Winning in Baseball.”
In addition, Gennaro estimates that Ohtani could bring an additional $20 million per year in off-the-field value through boosted merchandise, ticketing, and sponsorship sales over the next four or five years.
— With assistance from Ira Boudway