“We’ve given up on $600 million,” but how much is Otani thinking?
How much will the Los Angeles Angels’ Shohei Ohtani, 29, command in free agency?
On April 25, the day the news of Ohtani’s elbow ligament injury broke, ESPN reported, “Shortly before Ohtani’s injury, a veteran agent said Ohtani would be looking for $600 million. (Emphasis added.) But with this injury, Ohtani will probably give up $600 million, and even $500 million will be tough.
I wonder if that’s true.
The only time Ohtani has talked about his contract was in a public interview at spring training camp in Arizona in February.
At the time, Ohtani’s agent, Nez Valero of CAA Sports, said when asked about an extension with the Angels, “It’s always a possibility. But there are a lot of things to consider. If Ohtani plays this season, he can become a free agent and hit the market. We’ll see what happens,” he said.
This was interpreted as a hint that he plans to hit the free agent market rather than stay with the Angels.
Around the same time, Ohtani said, “I don’t know what Valero and the club are talking about. I haven’t heard anything about an extension. I’m just focusing on the season.” It is unusual for a player to directly address his future.
Five months later, ahead of the trade deadline in late July, the Angels officially announced that they were keeping Ohtani through the end of the season. With a playoff berth still somewhat alive, there was no news of an extension for Ohtani. Rumor has it that the team has been in contact with him, but it’s unlikely that he’s been proactive.
Now, Ohtani’s fate will be decided after the season. The Angels announced on Tuesday that they have placed six players on waivers, including Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez, Randall Grichuk, Hunter Lefroy and Matt Moore, who were acquired in a trade in late July, before the game against the Philadelphia Phillies. The team has officially given up on the postseason.
The Angels are 7-19 in August, tied with the Colorado Rockies for last place out of 30 teams. Looking at the waiver list, Ohtani may have redrawn a new picture of the free agent market.
While his season as a pitcher has been cut short due to an elbow injury, Ohtani has been dominant as a hitter. He had three hits and two RBIs against the Phillies.
He leads both leagues in home runs (44), slugging percentage (.664), OPS (1.074), and total bases (322), is first in the AL in runs scored (100), and third in batting average (.307) and RBI (94). In batting average, he is two points behind the AL leader, Yandy Diaz of the Tampa Bay Rays (.327). He’s also three behind the Houston Astros’ Kyle Tucker (97) in RBIs, meaning he’s too far behind to make a run at the Triple Crown.
So why is Ohtani playing so hard when the team has abandoned fall baseball and his second MVP is all but assured? An MRI he underwent after leaving the first game of a doubleheader against the Cincinnati Reds on April 24 with elbow pain diagnosed a torn ACL, but he played in every game the team played after that.
There must be a reason why a player is so determined to play after receiving a life-threatening diagnosis. Sure, he can still swing a bat and run the bases, so it’s only natural that he’d be playing as a designated hitter. However, as a “free agent” after this season, Ohtani needs to be very careful. He could aggravate his elbow injury by playing too much and hustling.
Some have suggested that Ohtani is pushing himself to raise his price a little bit, but that’s not a convincing argument.
The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal recently wrote, “Ohtani is still worth $500 million, if not more. He’s the best hitter in the majors despite torn elbow ligaments,’ and ‘At 29 years old, Ohtani is two years younger than he was aaron jersey when he hit the market a year ago. Jersey, who signed a $360 million contract with the Yankees, can’t throw. But Ohtani can throw afterward, even if he receives a Tommy John surgery. Ohtani, who doubles as a second baseman, easily surpasses the price tag of Jersey, who holds the AL record for most home runs.
Ohtani joined the Angels in a December 2017 post. He was under the age of 25 at the time and was forced to sign a minor league contract due to international amateur rules.
“I timed my entry into the major leagues to maximize my chances of being a Hall of Famer, not to maximize my income,” Ohtani said last year, referring to his decision to take a financial hit early. In other words, it was important to him to start his major league career as soon as possible.
Ohtani has made about $42 million on the field, including a $2.35 million signing bonus, $9.65 million in total salary through last year, and $30 million this season. So far, he’s earned about $40 million in advertising revenue.스포츠토토
But the size of his free-agent contract in about three months is a far cry from anything he’s ever touched. It’s still expected to be in the $500 million range. One more home run and one more RBI won’t change his value. However, with one month left in the season, another injury could be devastating.