Shohei Ohtani has been setting plenty of records on the field, and on Saturday, shattered a record off the field.
The Los Angeles Angels signed Ohtani to a record one-year, $30 million contract, the largest given to an arbitration-eligible player, and the biggest raise in baseball history.
The deal provides the strongest signal yet that the Angels have no intention of trading Ohtani before he’s eligible for free agency, and may try to sign him to an extension before the end of the 2023 season.
The previous record for an arbitration-eligible player was $27 million by Mookie Betts in 2020 with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
And no one in baseball history has ever received a $24.5 million increase from one year to the next. Ohtani earned $5.5 million this season in the second year of a two-year, $8.5 million deal. The previous record for an arbitration raise was Jacob deGrom’s $9.6 million increase with the Mets.
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The contract avoids what could have been a messy, but awfully intriguing arbitration hearing. Baseball has never had a two-way player in an arbitration hearing, let alone someone who has dominated the game on the mound and at the plate like Ohtani, the reigning American League MVP.
Ohtani, who came within four outs of a no-hitter in his last start, is 15-8 record with a 2.35 ERA and 213 strikeouts. He is hitting .276 with 34 homers, 94 RBI, 11 stolen bases with an .888 OPS.
Ohtani, who is having even a better year than his MVP season is expected to finish second in the AL MVP voting this season behind Aaron Judge of the Yankees.
Certainly, Ohtani’s career is historic. He’s the only player in baseball history to win at least 10 games and hit 30 homers in the same season. He’s also the only player to strike out at least 13 batters in one game with at least eight RBI in a other the same season.
He also happens to be the leading gate attraction in baseball, with the Angels making at least $20 million a year from advertising and merchandising involving Ohtani. FanGraphs projected that Ohtani has produced $139 million in value the last two seasons.
“Everybody looks forward to this day,’’ Angels interim manager Phil Nevin said in his press conference. “I think my parents only come when he pitches.’’
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Shohei Ohtani, Angels agree to contract extension for 2023 season