Watching Shohei Ohtani play is making me realize that he may be the best player of all time and realizing that he can be the first player that can potentially get to $1B in contracts. Ohtani is undercontract next year for $5.5M but falls into ARB (Arbitration) in 2023. The MLB has this automatic status where players and teams meet with arbitrators to determine the contract details of the player for that upcoming year. Both sides present a figure and the Arbitrators make a decision based on the offers, contracts of players alike and market value.
Ohtani is the highest profile of a player that plays both sides of the ball. There was always the idea that Peyton Manning’s backup was the best job in all pro sports. Now, it’s being DH for the Angels. Ohtani is a Pitcher with an 8-1 record in 18 starts along with a 2.79 ERA, while hitting 40 Homeruns and carrying a .648 Slugging Avg. The kid can hit and is lights out at the mound. The problem that the Angels have is that they’re going to have to pay him.
The Angels will already have Mike Trout and Anthony Rendon on the pay role for a combined $77M + . What kind of offer will they make Ohtani? If we look at the highest paid players in the league, Ohtani out plays them and gets paid a fraction compared to what his colleagues are paid. We’ll start with his teammate, Mike Trout.
Mike Trout signed a contract making him, at the time, the richest in North America. Trout’s contract is worth $426.5M for a total of 12 years. In February 2021, Trevor Bauer signed a three year deal worth $40M/year. Gerrit Cole gets $36M from the Yankees and holds an 11-6 record. Add these three comparable players to the mediation and there is no way that the Ohtani doesn’t get over $50M/ year. The duration will be tough to judge since he isn’t very young. Ohtani is 27 years old now and will be 29 when he’s up for ARB in 2023, and it’s unlikely that he will be able to replicate his 2021 numbers for another three to five years.
The money in baseball is bananas. People call it a dying sport but I will never believe that. At least not until I see these contracts getting smaller, but every year it grows and grows. It’s a constant battle between the NBA, NFL and MLB on who will have the richest athlete. Pat Mahomes, reigning MVP and Super Bowl Champ is the owner of the biggest contract out of the four major sports worth a whopping $503M. Out of the ten biggest contracts in the world, the MLB have seven of them. (Gerrit Cole, Bryce Harper, Mike Trout, Francisco Lindor, Giancarlo Stanton, Mookie Betts and Fernando Tatis Jr.) Ohtani will most likely get a deal somewhere north of $600M, but let’s wait and see.