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The student news site of Pleasant Valley High School

Spartan Shield

The student news site of Pleasant Valley High School

Spartan Shield

Shohei Ohtani’s new contract forges a new path for international baseball players

Junior+Rithik+Vijaykumar+watches+Shohei+Ohtani+highlights+amidst+contract+rumors.
Ashwin Parab
Junior Rithik Vijaykumar watches Shohei Ohtani highlights amidst contract rumors.

Japanese baseball sensation Shohei Ohtani, the former Los Angeles Angels All-Star pitcher and designated hitter, signed a 10-year, $700 million contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers on Dec 9th. His new contract is now the largest contract in North American history.

The two-way prodigy has been voted the MLB’s unanimous MVP two times in the last three seasons and continues to dominate on the mound and at home plate.

Ohtani will now join right fielder Mookie Betts and first baseman Freddie Freeman as the Dodgers make their run for the World Series in the 2024 MLB season. Senior Spencer Johnson believed Ohtani made the right decision. “Ohtani is a generational player who has made it clear he wants to win. The Dodgers will give him that opportunity while also adding an elite bat to their lineup and arm to their rotation,” he stated.

Ohtani’s contract beat former Angels teammate Mike Trout who held the former largest contract in MLB history. Trout signed with the Angels in 2019 to a 12-year, $426.5 million contract. Ohtani’s new deal doubles Patrick Mahomes’ 10 year, $450 million contract with the Kansas City Chiefs, gaining him the largest professional sports contract.

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In fact, Ohtani’s annual salary of $70 million is now greater than the 2023 opening day payrolls for the Baltimore Orioles and Oakland Athletics, which stand at $60.9 million and $56.9 million respectively. 

Other teams, including the Chicago Cubs, Toronto Blue Jays and Texas Rangers, were other teams looking at acquiring Ohtani. 

Johnson, an avid Chicago Cubs fan, looked to the bright side when he heard about Ohtani’s deal with the Dodgers. “It’s honestly heartbreaking that you see a player like this choose another team over your own. I’ve been watching the rumor mill for weeks and it built up my hope, but when something like this happens you have to look at the silver lining and acknowledge it is a risky investment that in many ways won’t pay off,” Johnson shared.

With the Dodgers $70 million annual salary for Ohtani, fans are beginning to question the team’s motive. Many believe that the move was just for publicity and marketing since Ohtani brings on a worldwide fanbase. 

Johnson is among many MLB fans that are worried about teams’ motives, but he believes that Ohtani’s contract can allow teams to make a profit and be competitive at the same time. “I believe Ohtani’s contract shows the direction the league is headed. You have large market teams signing big time players, meanwhile owners fixated on profit refuse to invest in their club. While Ohtani has only ever increased the likeness of baseball, I am positive this deal, and one’s like it, only draws lines between teams looking to compete versus earn an extra buck,” he explained.

Catering to a global audience, the 2024 MLB season is set to launch on March 20th and 21st with a two-game series between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the San Diego Padres held in Seoul, South Korea. And now, the season opener will feature the league’s most electric player: Shohei Ohtani.

Johnson believes baseball’s growing popularity on the world stage will lead to a talent influx in the MLB. “Players like Ohtani dream of coming to the U.S. to play the game and become one of the greats. I think you’ll start to see year after year more international stars making their way to the MLB and they’ll sign their own record breaking contracts,” he explained.

Senior Jaydon Kachappilly drew parallels between cricket and baseball. “Cricket is one of the most watched sports in the world so we know that there’s already a global fanbase for bat-based sports. It’s only a matter of time before baseball becomes a global sport especially in the west Asian subcontinent,” Kachappilly said. “Bat-based sports are appealing to audiences because they require more skill and technique than other sports that are purely based on athletic ability,” he added.

With international stars like Ohtani signing record breaking contracts, the MLB is fueled with talent and rapidly growing in popularity on a global stage. Following Ohtani’s footsteps, international baseball players will play in the MLB in the future and let the World Series stand up to its name.

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About the Contributor
Ashwin Parab, News Editor
Ashwin Parab is a senior at Pleasant Valley High School and the News Editor for the Spartan Shield. Ashwin is passionate about engineering and aspires to be a mechanical engineer someday. At PVHS, Ashwin participates in Ethics Bowl, plays trombone, and plays tennis. Due to his interest in engineering, Ashwin is highly involved in robotics and loves learning about the design process. In his free time, he loves volunteering for Habitat for Humanity. You can always find Ashwin watching movies, playing football/basketball, or driving around town. He also loves listening to lyrical rap, hip hop, and more. Ashwin is ready and thrilled to write for the Spartan Shield!
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