Shohei Ohtani signs absurd $700m megadeal with Los Angeles Dodgers in MLB

The Shohei Ohtani sweepstakes are over.

The baseball superstar is signing with Dodgers, he announced on his Instagram account on Sunday (AEDT).

Ohtani’s deal is for 10-year, $700 million, his agent Nez Balelo confirmed in a press release.

It is the largest contract in North American sports history.

The value of the contract is more than $1 billion in Australian dollars. According to The Athletic, he will be paid $656,385 per game.

The news ends the biggest question of the MLB offseason: Where Ohtani would call home next season.

The dual-threat was the biggest name on the market this year and was already expected to command a historic contract from his next team, The New York Post reports.

“To all the fans and everyone involved in the baseball world, I apologise for taking so long to come to a decision,” Ohtani wrote on Instagram. “I have decided to choose the Dodgers as my next team.”

Balelo called the contract “unique” and historic.

It includes “unprecedented deferrals” to mitigate the Dodgers’ yearly financial burden, according to The Post’s Jon Heyman.

The deal with the Dodgers ends Ohtani’s six-year run with the Los Angeles Angeles and begins a new chapter for the Japanese star.

“First of all, I would like to express my sincere gratitude to everyone involved with the Angels organisation and the fans who have supported me over the past six years, as well as to everyone involved with each team that was part of this negotiation process,” Ohtani wrote. “Especially to the Angels fans who supported me through all the ups and downs, your guys’ support and cheer meant the world to me. The six years I spent with the Angels will remain etched in my heart forever.”

Ohtani’s deal comes after the Yankees landed Juan Soto in a blockbuster trade with the Padres late Wednesday night.

In his six seasons with the Angeles, Ohtani hit .274 with 171 home runs and 437 RBI.

During that same span, Ohtani went 38-19 from the mound with an ERA of 3.03.

“And 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 wrote. “Until the last day of my playing career, I want to continue to strive forward not only for the Dodgers but for the baseball world.”

Ohtani is coming off a season that was cut short by injury in 2023, but one in which he still took home the American League MVP award in unanimous fashion.

He slashed .304/.412/.654 this season and led the American League in home runs with 44 and led all of Major League baseball in OPS with a 1.066.

From the hill, Ohtani was equally as effective, going 10-5 with a 3.14 ERA and striking out 167 batters over 132 innings.

The 29-year-old phenom, who arrived in the United States and signed with the Angels in 2017, re-tore his ulnar collateral ligament on Aug. 23 ending his time on the mound, but he kept hitting for several weeks after.

Ohtani underwent elbow in September, making him highly unlikely to be available to pitch this upcoming season.

Ohtani is expected to be ready to hit for the 2024 season and can return to the mound in 2025.

“As far as the rehab — it’s going really great so far, going really well,” Ohtani told MLB Network after winning the AL MVP honours.

“It feels a lot better and faster than the first time I had this surgery. But at the same time, I can’t rush. I have to take everything slow and take all the right steps. My plan is to come back strong next year.”

— This story originally appeared on nypost.com and has been republidhed with permission

Originally published as Shohei Ohtani signs absurd $700 million megadeal in MLB