Shohei Ohtani signs with Dodgers: Live updates as two-way superstar inks record deal after wild free agency

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Shohei Ohtani, the most anticipated free agent in Major League Baseball, announced on his Instagram on Saturday that he was joining the Los Angeles Dodgers. Ohtani's agent, CAA's Nez Balelo, subsequently confirmed that he had signed a 10-year pact worth $700 million, the richest contract in North American professional sports history.

Ohtani's decision to join the Dodgers follows months of speculation that they were the favorites to land him. Their exact positioning in the horserace became muddled in recent weeks with Ohtani's camp shrouding the process in secrecy. In the end, Ohtani still ended in the same destination, regardless of the interim route.

CBS Sports ranked Ohtani as the No. 1 free agent available this winter, writing the following:

Welcome to the most anticipated free agency in league history. Ohtani will not pitch next year after undergoing elbow surgery to correct a torn ulnar collateral ligament, yet he's expected to be in someone's lineup as a DH come Opening Day. (He's slated to return to the mound in 2025.) Ohtani is certain to receive a mammoth, record-breaking payday in the interim. Why wouldn't he? He's ranked in the top 10 in both ERA+ and OPS+ since debuting, and along the way has single-handedly shifted the Overton Window on two-way players. It's fair to wonder how his workload will change in the future -- perhaps he someday shifts to a relief role? -- but that's the risk you gladly stomach when you're blessed with the opportunity to sign the kind of anomaly who invokes references to Leon Day, Bullet Rogan, Martín Dihigo, and Babe Ruth. "Destiny is the music of the improbable," Kenneth Patchen once wrote. "Were it otherwise, almost anyone could exist." Make sure you find a way to enjoy Ohtani's tune this winter, even as the noise around him ramps up.

Ohtani, whose season as a pitcher ended because of elbow surgery, will not be available to pitch in 2024.

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Ohtani not in Toronto?

Despite reports to the contrary earlier, Jim Bowden reports that Ohtani is not in Toronto and that a decision is not imminent. 

After a completely quiet first six weeks of his free agency, things have gone off the rails a bit today with the Ohtani rumors. Seems the waiting will continue for at least a little while longer.

December 8, 2023, 10:13 PM
Dec. 08, 2023, 5:13 pm EST
 
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How Shohei Ohtani would fit with Blue Jays

Ohtani and the Blue Jays might be the best fit from a strictly baseball standpoint. The Jays are a World Series contender, but they lack a left-handed bat in the middle of the order and could use one more starter to solidify the top of their rotation. Toronto might just be close to adding both of those things in one roster spot. As the Jays/Ohtani speculation continues, CBS Sports' Mike Axisa took a look at how Ohtani would fit in the Jays' lineup in 2024 and their rotation in 2025.

Shohei Ohtani to the Blue Jays? Projecting how MLB star would fit in Toronto's 2024 lineup, 2025 rotation
Mike Axisa
Shohei Ohtani to the Blue Jays? Projecting how MLB star would fit in Toronto's 2024 lineup, 2025 rotation
 
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More odds movement

With the Blue Jays very much in the mix to sign Shohei Ohtani, Toronto's World Series odds keep getting shorter. The Jays were +1800 to start the week. They were at +1200 to begin the day. Now, with more Ohtani-to-Toronto smoke, they're down to +1000.

Here's a look at the current WS odds for 2024:

  • Braves: +700
  • Dodgers: +800
  • Yankees: +900
  • Blue Jays: +1000
  • Phillies: +1000
  • Astros: +1000
  • Rangers: +1000
 
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Still waiting for Ohtani decision

The Blue Jays are very much in the Ohtani sweepstakes. There is a report out there that Ohtani has picked the Jays over the Dodgers. But according to Sportsnet, the Jays are an Ohtani finalist but the two-way star has not made his decision yet.

 
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Biggest contracts in MLB history

Shohei Ohtani, as long as he does not opt for a ridiculously high-priced short-term deal, will sign the largest contract in MLB history at some point this offseason. The current record belongs to Mike Trout, Ohtani's old teammate, and the $426.5 million deal he inked in 2019. Here's a look at the 10 biggest contracts ever signed in baseball:

Largest contracts in MLB: Shohei Ohtani shatters Mike Trout's record, Yoshinobu Yamamoto beats Gerrit Cole
R.J. Anderson
Largest contracts in MLB: Shohei Ohtani shatters Mike Trout's record, Yoshinobu Yamamoto beats Gerrit Cole
 
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Note on Shohei Ohtani timeline

MLB Network's Jon Morosi reported that an Ohtani decision was "imminent" earlier on Friday. But that does not necessarily mean that a contract will be official in the next day or two. Morosi points out that while Ohtani could make his decision this weekend, it could still take a while to finalize a contract.

 
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Blue Jays World Series odds movement

The Jays were listed at +1800 earlier in the week to win the World Series. With their link to Ohtani in recent days, that number has moved down to +1200. Only the Braves, Dodgers, Yankees, Astros, Phillies and reigning champion Rangers currently have better odds than the Jays. And that's likely to change if they actually land Shohei Ohtani.

 
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Winter Meetings recap

Shohei Ohtani did not sign at the MLB Winter Meetings. Not many players did. There were a handful of notable free agent deals (Craig Kimbrel to the Orioles, Eduardo Rodriguez to the Diamondbacks, Jeimer Candelario to the Reds), but the move everyone is talking about -- or at least will be talking about until Ohtani signs -- is the Yankees' blockbuster acquisition of Juan Soto. 

Here's how CBS Sports' Dayn Perry broke down the uncharacteristically slow week in Nashville.

 
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Why Ohtani/Jays are a good fit

Shohei Ohtani rumors: Blue Jays emerge as serious suitor, and here's why two-way star would be great fit
Mike Axisa
Shohei Ohtani rumors: Blue Jays emerge as serious suitor, and here's why two-way star would be great fit

The Jays have become a serious suitor in the Ohtani race -- and for good reason. The Jays, with Bo Bichette, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and George Springer -- are firmly in win-now mode. And they could use a middle-of-the-order lefty bat to bolster their lineup and an ace starter to front a rotation.

 
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Momentum for Blue Jays?

The Dodgers have been the frontrunners for Ohtani for the entire offseason, and they are still very much in the mix. But one team appears to be gaining ground in the Ohtani sweepstakes: the Toronto Blue Jays. Though they would not confirm things, the Jays reportedly met with Ohtani this week at their spring training complex in Dunedin, Florida. Jon Morosi on MLB Network noted Friday morning that Toronto has "momentum."

"In the last week, since his visit to Dunedin, Florida on Monday, momentum has built for the Blue Jays," Morosi said on air.

 
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Shohei Ohtani decision 'imminent'

Decision Day could be coming soon for Shohei Ohtani. The MLB superstar remains in free agency, but signs point to a decision coming before long. Jon Morosi of MLB Network reported a few days ago that Ohtnai could make a decision before the end of the weekend. Morosi is now reporting that a deal for Ohtani is "imminent."

The Dodgers, Blue Jays, Giants and Angels are known to be in the mix for Ohtani. But his free agency process has be intentionally quiet, and there is a chance he makes a surprising decision that doesn't include one of those teams. Stay tuned, baseball fans.

 
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Contract in the $550-$600 million range?

Shohei Ohtani, assuming he does not sign a short-term deal with an outrageously high average annual value, is set to sign the largest contract in baseball history. That record is currently held by longtime Ohtani teammate Mike Trout and his $426.5 million deal. It seemed the $500 million mark was likely to be hit entering the winter, but could Ohtani wind up getting even more than that?

ESPN reports that people around baseball think Ohtani's contract could be worth $550 million or even $600 million. Those numbers would make it likely Ohtani is signing a deal of at least 12 years. 

Ohtani's deal could be one of the most complicated in MLB history, too. The superstar could include multiple opt-outs in a deal, a no-trade clause, and a team might defer bigger money toward the back of the contract to have more financial flexibility in the coming seasons.

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Suitors emerge for Ohtani; Mets and others drop out?

Ohtani's free agency has been quiet by design. Ohtani and agent Nez Balelo reportedly warned teams about leaking information about meetings and contract offers to the media. But there was some reporting on Dec. 1 that gave a look at the current Ohtani landscape.

Jeff Passan of ESPN reported that the Dodgers, Blue Jays, Cubs and Angels are still among the known suitors for Ohtani. He added that a few notable teams have seemingly dropped out of the race and turned their attention elsewhere. From Passan:

The Texas Rangers, Boston Red Sox and New York Mets, who were among the initial group of suitors, have turned their attention to other players, sources said.

The Giants have also been mentioned as a potential strong suitor for Ohtani, and it's always possible a big-money Mystery Team joins the fray in a negotiation like this. But entering the Winter Meetings, there is a handful of known suitors still in pursuit.

MLB rumors: Latest Shohei Ohtani news as suitors emerge; are Yankees balking at Juan Soto trade price?
R.J. Anderson
MLB rumors: Latest Shohei Ohtani news as suitors emerge; are Yankees balking at Juan Soto trade price?
 
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Experts make their Ohtani predictions

Where will Ohtani sign? What will his contract look like? That's what everyone in baseball is asking. So we decided to ask our CBS Sports MLB writing staff. Our four writers made their picks and nearly came to a consensus about where Ohtani will land this winter and how big his contract will be.

Shohei Ohtani predictions: Experts project where MLB's top player will sign, what kind of contract he'll get
Mike Axisa
Shohei Ohtani predictions: Experts project where MLB's top player will sign, what kind of contract he'll get
 
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Ohtani rejects qualifying offer

2023 MLB qualifying offer: All seven free agents reject QO, including Shohei Ohtani, Aaron Nola
Mike Axisa
2023 MLB qualifying offer: All seven free agents reject QO, including Shohei Ohtani, Aaron Nola

In perhaps the least surprising move of the offseason, Shohei Ohtani rejected the Angels' $20.325M one-year Qualifying Offer on Tuesday. This was simply a free agency formality. All this means is that if Ohtani signs with another team this winter, the Angels will get draft pick compensation. Mike Axisa explains why it would be a very small consolation prize.

 
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Ohtani contract prediction

The $500 million mark seems to be the bar everyone is watching when it comes to Shohei Ohtani's free agency. That number would shatter the currently held MLB record (Mike Trout's $426.5M contract). Ohtani can likely get to $500 million this winter unless he prefers a shorter deal with a higher annual average value (more on that below. But how long would a deal have to be to get to $500M? CBS Sports' R.J. Anderson says just 10 years. 

Anderson predicted the contracts for every one of the top 10 free agents on the market this week. Ohtani's prediction: 10 years, $500 million. The $50M average annual value would also rewrite the contract record books. Check out all the predictions below.

MLB free agency predictions: Projecting contracts for top 10 players with Shohei Ohtani hitting $500M mark
R.J. Anderson
MLB free agency predictions: Projecting contracts for top 10 players with Shohei Ohtani hitting $500M mark
 
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What if Ohtani doesn't take a 10-year, $500 million offer?

All along, we've expected Ohtani to max out on years and dollars, probably with a heap of opt outs and incentives. But how will his elbow surgery affect that? Could he take an enormous one-year deal to cover 2024, when he won't be on the mound, then start fresh (and healthy!) next offseason?

Shohei Ohtani rumors: Two-way ace could take shorter, high AAV deal, hit free agency again after elbow rehab
Dayn Perry
Shohei Ohtani rumors: Two-way ace could take shorter, high AAV deal, hit free agency again after elbow rehab
November 14, 2023, 3:57 PM
Nov. 14, 2023, 10:57 am EST
 
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Ohtani prioritizing contenders over geography?

It is no secret Ohtani wants to join a contending team -- "It sucks to lose," he said in July -- and that might be his top priority, even over geography. It is believed Ohtani prefers the West Coast. Several East Coast teams figure to at least reach out to Ohtani this offseason, including the Blue Jays, Braves, Mets, Phillies, Red Sox, and Yankees.

MLB rumors: Shohei Ohtani not as concerned with geography during free agency, Aaron Nola garnering interest
Mike Axisa
MLB rumors: Shohei Ohtani not as concerned with geography during free agency, Aaron Nola garnering interest
November 13, 2023, 5:34 PM
Nov. 13, 2023, 12:34 pm EST
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