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#pounditWednesday, April 17, 2024

Shohei Ohtani forced Dodgers to spend money as part of his contract

Shohei Ohtani smiling

Jun 15, 2023; Arlington, Texas, USA; Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher Shohei Ohtani (17) walks to the dugout before the game against the Texas Rangers at Globe Life Field. Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Shohei Ohtani structured his massive deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers in a way that will allow the team to continue to spend aggressively on other players. In fact, the contract demands it.

Tom Verducci of Sports Illustrated uncovered some new details about the 10-year, $700 million deal Ohtani signed with the Dodgers last week. It has already been widely reported that Ohtani will receive just $20 million over the next 10 years, with the remaining $680 to be paid out (with no interest) in the 10 years after his contract expires.

The structure of the agreement gives the Dodgers financial flexibility to continue to field a championship-caliber roster. That was Ohtani’s goal. According to Verducci, Ohtani is not simply taking the Dodgers’ at their word that they will do that. There is language in the contract that assures the team will use the short-term savings to build a competitive roster.

That was another smart move from Ohtani. It is one thing for the Dodgers to tell Ohtani that the massive deferrals in his contract will allow them to pursue top players via trade and free agency and also retain some of their own core pieces. All that matters is that they actually follow through, and it sounds like Ohtani has taken steps to assure that they will.

There have been many indications that the Dodgers are not done yet in free agency. They are reportedly working hard to improve their pitching as well.

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