Shohei “Shotime” Ohtani has set a new record for receiving the highest one-year contract for an arbitration-eligible player after signing a $30 million deal with the Los Angeles Angels for the 2023 season.
The Angels reportedly agreed to a one-year $30 million deal with Ohtani, 28, to avoid arbitration on Saturday, Jeff Passan of ESPN tweeted.
Shohei Ohtani and the Los Angeles Angels are in agreement on a one-year, $30 million contract to avoid arbitration. It’s the largest salary ever for an arbitration-eligible player and will be his final number before he hits the free agent jackpot following the 2023 season.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) October 1, 2022
The new contract, which will give the two-way star a huge raise compared to his $5.5 million salary for the 2022 season, came just one season before Ohtani hits the free agent field, which will happen after his 2023 run.
Ohtani’s deal with the Angels is reportedly the highest one that any arbitration-eligible player has ever signed, even beating the $27 million deal Mookie Betts agreed on for the Boston Red Sox in January 2020.
An MLB player becomes eligible for salary arbitration if they have “three or more years of Major League service but less than six years of Major League service” and “do not already have a contract for the next season,” the MLB explained. Players and teams can negotiate salaries, but if no deals have been made by the predetermined deadline, the two sides must exchange salary figures for the next season, and a hearing will ensue.
“If no one-year or multi-year settlement can be reached by the hearing date, the case is brought before a panel of arbitrators,” the league continued. “After hearing arguments from both sides, the panel selects either the salary figure of either the player or the club (but not one in between) as the player’s salary for the upcoming season.”
The Japanese-born MLB star has been having a great season so far, batting at .276 with 34 homers, 94 RBIs and a .888 OPS. Ohtani also scored 15-8 with a 2.35 ERA and 213 strikeouts, and the opponents who face him while he is on the hill reportedly only bat at .207.
Ohtani also achieved a lot of firsts this season, including hitting his first career grand slam in May and making history as the first Asian athlete to be featured on the front cover of an American sports video game.
Born in the Japanese city of Oshu, Ohtani unanimously won the American League’s Most Valuable Player award in November 2021. He was also named Player of the Year by the Associated Press and MLB Player of the Year by other players in October 2021.
Featured Image via MLB