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Los Angeles Dodgers Win Shohei Ohtani Sweepstakes, Ink Superstar to Massive Contract

Shohei Ohtani ultimately picked the Los Angeles Dodgers over the Toronto Blue Jays and San Francisco Giants, bringing his wild free agency to an end.

The Shohei Ohtani sweepstakes are finally over, and the Los Angeles Dodgers have emerged victorious.

Ohtani has signed with the Dodgers, he announced in an Instagram post Saturday afternoon. The Toronto Blue Jays, San Francisco Giants, Chicago Cubs and Los Angeles Angels were among the other teams reportedly in contention to reel Ohtani in.

To all the fans and everyone involved in the baseball world, I apologize for taking so long to come to a decision. I have decided to choose the Dodgers as my next team.

First of all, I would like to express my sincere gratitude to everyone involved with the Angels organization and the fans who have supported me over the past six years, as well as to everyone involved with each team that was part of this negotiation process. Especially to the Angels fans who supported me through all the ups and downs, your guys’ support and cheer meant the world to me. The six years I spent with the Angels will remain etched in my heart forever.

And to all Dodgers fans, I pledge to always do what’s best for the team and always continue to give it my all to be the best version of myself. Until the last day of my playing career, I want to continue to strive forward not only for the Dodgers but for the baseball world.

There are some things that cannot be conveyed in writing, so I would like to talk more about this again at a later press conference.

Thank you very much

To lure Ohtani to the other side of Los Angeles, the Dodgers' front office rewarded the slugger and ace with a 10-year, $700 million deal – the biggest contract in North American sports history – according to ESPN's Jeff Passan.

In the days leading up to Ohtani's decision, it was looking more and more like he would pick the Blue Jays. DodgersNation's JP Hoornstra initially leaked that the two-way Japanese superstar had decided to join the Blue Jays, and MLB Network's Jon Morosi reported that Ohtani was headed to Toronto on Friday.

That turned out to be false, though, and Morosi apologized for his misinformation several hours later.

So instead of heading north of the border, Ohtani is sticking around in Southern California, where he has spent the last six years. Ohtani emerged as one of baseball's biggest stars in that time, winning two MVP awards on top of his gaudy stats at the plate and on the mound.

Since arriving in Anaheim in 2018, Ohtani has hit .274 with 171 home runs, 436 RBI, 86 stolen bases a .922 OPS and a 34.7 WAR. He is also 38-19 with a 3.01 ERA, 1.082 WHIP and 11.4 strikeouts per nine innings for his career.

Ohtani won MVP and a Silver Slugger in both 2021 and 2023. In the intervening season, he was runner-up for AL MVP while also finishing fourth in AL Cy Young voting.

Although recent Tommy John surgery is expected to keep Ohtani off the mound in 2024, he will return to pitching the following season.

For the time being, he'll step in as the designated hitter in a lineup that already included outfielder/second baseman Mookie Betts and Freddie Freeman, each of whom have an MVP award of their own.

The Dodgers went 100-62 in 2023, making the playoffs for the 11th consecutive season and winning their 10th NL West title since 2013. They have more wins that any other franchise in that time, but only one World Series title to show for it.

Los Angeles' dominance should only continue with Ohtani entering the fold, although it remains to be seen how the club will be able to build out the rest of the roster around the high-priced trio of Ohtani, Betts and Freeman.

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