After more twists and turns than a ninth inning directed by Brian Wilson, the great Shohei Ohtani adventure of 2023 has come to a conclusion. And it ended the way we all feared it would: with the sports biggest, brightest, and most talented star signing with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Following tons of secrecy, many rumors, and a report from a Dodgers beat writer that Ohtani was signing with the Toronto Blue Jays, Ohtani ultimately opted to join the team that most had predicted from the very beginning.
Which, in a word, sucks for the San Francisco Giants. Unlike with Aaron Judge and Bryce Harper, the Giants finished in the running for a superduperstar who will now be shoved down their throats for the next decade.
Even the silver lining was quickly debunked. The silver lining was the outrageous cost — 10 years and $700 million, which to the naked eye is a good $20-30 million more per year than was projected. But the debunking is painful: at the urging of Ohtani himself, a huge portion of that money will be deferred, to make sure LA can still field a hyper-competitive team around him. I don’t think they’re going to have any problems doing that.
Shohei Ohtani's contract has significant deferrals that include most of his salary -- an idea, a source said, that was Ohtani's. In deferring the money, it reduces the cost of the competitive-balance-tax hit and will allow the Dodgers to build a better team around him.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) December 9, 2023
In the coming hours, days, weeks, and years, we may learn how close the Giants were — or weren’t — to signing Ohtani, and what their largest offer was. And in the coming hours, days, weeks, and months, we may see the Giants re-allocate that money in ways that help the team dramatically.
But right now, all we have is seeing the best, most popular, and most fun to watch baseball player on the planet sign with the one team you really, really, really, really didn’t want him to sign with.
And that sucks.