Shohei Ohtani winners and losers: Dodgers land two-way star with shocking $700 million contract

After a Friday filled with rumors and reports, of flight trackers and sushi dinners, Shohei Ohtani ended all of the speculation with a simple Instagram post on Saturday afternoon.

The first thing he did was apologize for taking so long. The second thing he did was announce that he’s chosen the Dodgers as his next team. And then, a few moments later, ESPN’s Jeff Passan announced the stunning contract details: 10 years, $700 million. 

Wow. Just wow. 

As the dust settles and those numbers sink in, let’s take a quick look at the immediate winners and losers with this deal. 

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Winners: The Dodgers (duh)

The Dodgers were always seen as the favorite. They had the money and they had the winning and they were right down the road from where Ohtani had grown up as a big-league ballplayer. But it always just seemed to make a little too much sense, to be a bit too obvious, didn’t it? And when all that Friday craziness went down, it seemed like Ohtani had zigged when everybody expected him to zag. 

But, nope. Ohtani now joins a lineup that will include Mookie Betts, Freddie Freeman and Ohtani as the top three hitters. That’s just amazing. The 2023 AL MVP in there with the guys who finished second and third in the NL MVP voting. It’s unlike anything we’ve seen, certainly. 

There’s still work to be done with the Dodgers. They have a rotation to fill out and other areas to address, but those all feel a lot less important now that they have Ohtani. 

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Losers: The Blue Jays

How much more does this sting for Jays fans after Friday? Though, of course, it’s not at all Ohtani’s fault — his camp certainly didn’t leak any of those tidbits flying around — it still seems unreasonably cruel to Toronto baseball fans who believed, even for a few hours, that Ohtani was joining their favorite team.

It stinks for the Jays as a team, too, but right now it’s about the fans. 

Juan Soto

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Winners: Juan Soto

Ohtani’s new deal with the Jays significantly raises the bar, and Soto — and his agent, Scott Boras — should send a big ol’ gift basket to the two-way global superstar. Ohtani’s $700 million contract will make mind-boggling numbers suddenly realistic, and Soto’s new team, the Yankees, have handed out their fair share of massive contracts.

Remember, Soto’s already turned down one massive extension offer, a reported $440 million over 15 years — an average of $29.3 million per year — proposed by the Nationals in the middle of the 2021 season. It’s worth pointing out, though, that the offer was reportedly massively back-loaded; details were not revealed, but safe to say Soto was not scheduled to receive $29.3 million in 2022 or 2023. He made $23 million in 2023 and is likely to land over $30 million in 2024, meaning that so far he’s outpaced that extension offer. 

And now? Soto turned 25 in October, and he’ll be 26 to start the 2025 season, the first year of his new contract. He very well could get a deal worth more than $440 million, on a deal at least 10 years long, maybe up to 13 years, if that’s what he wants. Aaron Judge, remember, got $360 million for nine years, entering his age 31 season. If Soto gets that AAV of $40 million for, let’s say, 13 years — Judge will be 40 at the end of his deal, Soto would be 39 at the end of a 13-year deal — that’s a $520 million deal. 

A week ago, that might have seemed insane. Now, it’s a damn bargain. 

MORE: Juan Soto trade grades | Projecting Yankees’ new lineup

Losers: Angels

It’s a self-inflicted wound, to be sure. Still, it stings.

Winners: Fans in the NL West

Yeah, in a perfect world Ohtani would have signed with your favorite team. But the chances of that were always slim for pretty much everyone — sorry Blue Jays fans — and if you’re an appreciator of great baseball players (who isn’t?) the next-best thing would be for Ohtani to sign with a team that visits your city often so you can watch him play in person. 

Of course, you’d wish for him to go 4-for-4 with two home runs, but in a losing effort, and that’s OK.

So, yeah. Not a bad day for the other fan bases in the NL West, who get to see Ohtani play a bunch of games in their home ballpark every year for the next decade. 

Losers: Angels fans

I’ve said this before, but it’s worth saying again: If you know an Angels fan, give ’em a hug. They need it. It’s not just that they lost Ohtani, it’s HOW they lost Ohtani. They lost him because the team just kept losing, over and over, year after year. They lost fresh-slate games early in seasons, and they lost last-gasp games in June and July before falling out of playoff races. Even when it looked like they might get to play really important games down the stretch in 2023, they lost the ones that robbed them of their chance. And with it, they lost Ohtani. 

They deserve better, no doubt. 

But even think about the past month or so, and how they were strung along by reports that Ohtani might actually stay in Anaheim. Hope against hope, it just wouldn’t go away. Denied closure, almost to the point of cruelty. And then to have to hear and read people say bad things about their favorite franchise and how it would be crazy for Ohtani to return to Anaheim — I’m as guilty as anyone, though I promise it’s about the team, not the fans — had to sting. 

Angels fans got to watch Ohtani do amazing things for a long time. Wish the ending hadn’t been quite so mean. 

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