Ohtani heads into '23 with a $30 million contract, then free agency
The Angels are trying to lock down their super player, Shohei Ohtani. Agent Nez Balelo says that will be difficult since Ohtani has yet to test free agency. The fear is leaving big dollars on the table by signing a contract extension before knowing what the market will bear for the Japanese wunderkind.
Ohtani has a 2023 contract in hand valued at $30 million. A $30 million represents the largest contract for an arbitration-eligible player in Major League history. Free agency awaits Ohtani at the season’s end.
Mid-year trade rumors circulated in the postseason. Rumors had the Dodgers in the running to land the superstar. This agreement tables the negotiation until the season’s end, allowing Ohtani to focus on production instead of carrying contract negotiations onto the field.
It could be tough to negotiate during the season, and Ohtani has earned the right to test free agency if a deal can’t be reached. Shohei earned the right to play through the year, explore free agency, and we will see where that shakes out. - Ohtani agent Nez Balelo
Ohtani and the Angels recently avoided arbitration by agreeing on a $30 million contract for the 2023 season, the largest contract for an arbitration-eligible player in Major League history. Still, the two-way star will become a free agent at the season’s end.
The question remains. What does the superstar want to do? Where does he want to play? As of this writing, there are no clear answers. Ohtani and his agent are taking things day by day.
The Angels have yet to have a single playoff game with Ohtani on the roster. The Angels are loaded with talents such as Mike Trout and several promising young players. Yet, no playoff appearances. All-star Mike Trout has zero playoff experience. Interestingly, the Angels projected payroll this year would come in at around $193 million.
Will Ohtani, 28, become MLB’s first $500 million player? It’s speculation. Trout is the highest-paid player after signing a 12-year deal for $426.5 million in 2019.
Angels fans have embraced Ohtani and love to see him take the mound or come to the plate. His jersey sells out, and fans scoop up anything Shohei; there was a promotional t-shirt with his face and a popular pillow with his image.
Ohtanis’ appeal is not limited to Anaheim. Ohtani’s talent has been widely shared from Iwate Prefecture and worldwide.
MLB has new rules for ’23. No infield shift, larger bases, and a pitch clock to speed up play will test players daily. With Trout, Ohtani, and now the return of Albert Pujols, the pressure to win and make the ’23 playoffs will be never-ending.
Douglas Pilarski is an award-winning Writer & Journalist based on the west coast. He writes about luxury goods, exotic cars, horology, tech, food, lifestyle, and workplace issues. He is a regular contributor to Newsbreak.com and Medium.com.
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