9 amazing facts about Ohtani's deal with the Dodgers

December 11th, 2023

We are so lucky to witness ’s career. His joining the Dodgers is historic for a whole host of reasons -- and leads to so many fun notes.

The reigning unanimous American League MVP joins MVP winners Mookie Betts and Freddie Freeman in a stacked lineup. A record-setting dollar amount. And so much more.

Here’s one to keep an eye on as Ohtani heads up I-5. Ohtani has 171 career home runs, all with the Angels. No player has hit at least 20 homers for both the Angels and Dodgers -- at least, not yet. One player has 19 with each: Frank Robinson, 50 with the Angels and 19 with the Dodgers.

Let’s dive into more of the context. Here are nine stats and facts about Ohtani’s new contract and team.

The contract
• We have to start with the terms. At 10 years and $700 million, this is believed to be the largest contract in professional sports history. The prior largest baseball contract by total value was Mike Trout’s 12-year, $426.5 million extension with the Angels in 2019. This is $273.5 million more than that, almost the value of Alex Rodriguez’s then-record $275 million deal entering '08.

• For MLB free agents, the prior largest deal had been Aaron Judge’s nine-year, $360 million contract prior to the 2023 season. Ohtani’s contract sets that record by $340 million, the exact value of Fernando Tatis Jr.’s extension with the Padres entering ‘21.

• It also sets the record for average annual value for an MLB contract, previously set by Max Scherzer at $43.3 million with the Mets entering the 2022 season, then tied by Justin Verlander with the Mets a year later.

• Players in Ohtani’s position, having just won an MVP Award, don’t usually head to new teams. He’s just the fourth reigning MVP to change teams that offseason, joining 2017 Giancarlo Stanton, who was traded from the Marlins to the Yankees; 2003 Rodriguez, who was traded from the Rangers to the Yankees; and 1992 Barry Bonds, who went from the Pirates to the Giants in free agency.

• Ohtani was the fifth player to be granted free agency the offseason after winning MVP, a unique and small group. As noted above, Bonds was the only other of those to change teams. The three who re-signed with the same team were 2022 Judge with the Yankees, 2007 Rodriguez with the Yankees and 1989 Robin Yount with the Brewers.

• Ohtani led MLB with a 184 OPS+ in 2023. That’s the highest by a qualified hitter who changed teams in the following offseason since 2002 Jim Thome. Thome led the AL with a 197 OPS+ for Cleveland, finished seventh in MVP voting and then signed as a free agent with Philadelphia that December.

• Ohtani is the reigning MVP and has won the award twice in the AL. It’s fair to wonder whether he'll add another to his trophy case with the Dodgers. Only five players have won an MVP award with two franchises since the BBWAA began voting in 1931. They are Robinson (Reds, Orioles), Bonds (Pirates, Giants), Rodriguez (Rangers, Yankees), Jimmie Foxx (Athletics, Red Sox) and Bryce Harper (Nationals, Phillies). Of those, only Robinson won in both leagues.

And of course, because the Dodgers have so much talent, that two-franchises note would apply to both Betts and Freeman if either wins another MVP Award -- and the leagues one would apply to Betts, too.

The star-studded Dodgers
• With Ohtani, who won AL MVP, plus Betts and Freeman, who finished second and third for NL MVP, the 2024 Dodgers will be the fifth team to begin a season with three players who each finished top-three in MVP voting in the previous season in either league, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. They will join the 2004 Yankees, 1967 Orioles, 1960 White Sox and 1942 Dodgers.

The '04 Yankees had Rodriguez, who won the '03 AL MVP; Jorge Posada, who finished third in the AL; and Gary Sheffield, who finished third in the NL. The '67 Orioles had Frank Robinson, who won the '66 AL MVP, and Brooks Robinson and Boog Powell, who finished second and third in the AL, respectively. The '60 White Sox had reigning AL MVP Nellie Fox, as well as Luis Aparicio and Early Wynn, who were two-three behind their teammate in '59. And the '42 Dodgers had Dolph Camilli, who won MVP in the NL ahead of his teammates Pete Reiser and Whit Wyatt in '41.

• Betts (second), Freeman (third) and Ohtani (fifth) all ranked top five in MLB in position player WAR, per FanGraphs, in 2023. If they can repeat that feat in some form, they’d join a short list. Only three teams since 1900 have had three of the top five in MLB in position player WAR in a season: 1948 Cleveland (Joe Gordon, Ken Keltner, Lou Boudreau), the 1942 Yankees (Charlie Keller, Joe DiMaggio, Gordon) and 1904 Cleveland (Bill Bradley, Elmer Flick, Nap Lajoie).