Dodgers welcome Ohtani to Hollywood
The biggest superstar in baseball will be formally introduced by the team at a news conference Thursday.
A unique two-way star as both a hitter and pitcher, the 29-year-old Japanese sensation left the Los Angeles Angels as a free agent after six years. He’s moving 30 miles up Interstate 5 after the Dodgers outbid the competition by offering a $700 million, 10-year contract in a deal announced Monday.
It will be Ohtani's first time speaking with the media since Aug. 9, two weeks before a pitching injury that required surgery and will keep him off the mound until 2025. He had the operation on Sept. 19, but the nature of the surgery was not fully announced. Ohtani had Tommy John surgery on Oct. 1, 2018.
The two-time AL MVP has a .274 batting average with 171 homers, 437 RBIs and 86 stolen bases along with a 39-19 record with a 3.01 ERA and 608 strikeouts in 481 2/3 innings. Ohtani has 34.7 Wins Above Replacement (WAR), per Baseball Reference.
“He's got that edge where he’s not afraid of any pitcher,” Dodgers reliever Joe Kelly said. “Especially in the playoffs, you need a guy like that who obviously is not afraid and wants to be the star in a big moment.”
Ohtani’s unusual contract calls for annual salaries of $70 million and of each year’s salary, $68 million is deferred with no interest, payable in equal installments each July 1 from 2034-43. He also can opt out of the deal if either controlling owner Mark Walter or president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman no longer is with the team, a person told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Wednesday because the terms were not announced.
Kelly is switching uniform numbers, opening No. 17 for Ohtani.
“Our goal is the World Series every year,” Kelly said, “so if you could put in players who aren’t afraid of the moment, it goes a long way here.”
AP MLB: https://apnews.com/MLB