The Inside Story: Three Teams Competed to Sign Shohei Ohtani

Shohei Ohtani rocked the baseball world on Saturday by choosing to sign with the Los Angeles Dodgers for a 10-year, $700 million contract, making it the largest paycheck in professional sports. The deal shatters his former teammate Mike Trout’s $426 million contract. Moreover, if you were to combine Aaron Judge and Bryce Harper’s contracts, it still would not surpass Ohtani’s.

MLB insider Jon Heyman joined the MLB Network to discuss what led Ohtani to sign this massive deal. In doing so, he revealed that there were three teams that Ohtani narrowed his decision down to before signing with the Dodgers. The three finalists were the Dodgers, the Toronto Blue Jays, and the Los Angeles Angels. Heyman also stated that Ohtani’s decision likely came down to wanting to play for a contender, but the money sure does help.

For several reasons, the Dodgers were considered the favorites to sign Shohei Ohtani. One of those reasons is that he has yet to make the playoffs in his six-year tenure. Another reason that he chose the Dodgers was because he wanted to stay on the West Coast. Going from the Angels to the Dodgers is not much of a move at all. The two stadiums are only 30 miles apart.

The Dodgers are looking to avenge their early exit from the postseason with the addition of Shohei Ohtani. They had a great regular season last year. They finished atop the National League West with a record of 100-62. However, they were taken out by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the NLDS. It was a sad finale to the season for the club, which had hoped to compete for a World Series crown. With Shohei Ohtani in the lineup, their championship window has expanded even further.

Early reports predict that Ohtani will bat second in the lineup behind Mookie Betts, with Freddie Freeman following. That will be a scary top-of-the-order battle for opposing pitchers.

The Dodgers have now surpassed the Atlanta Braves as World Series favorites. Fanduel has placed +550 odds on the LA, while Atlanta is now a +650 favorite to hoist the 2024 title. With Ohtani no longer on the market, free agency should heat up. Teams that missed out on the two-time AL MVP should rapidly turn to the best available players.