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Tuesday, August 15, 2023


However, we know that Ohtani will not be viewed as an average free agent, regardless of the precedent of past contracts or which player pool he is compared to. Instead, let’s base our calculations off the max deals on these lists—the 11-year, $300 million deal Trea Turner got from the Phillies after the 2022 season as a position player, and the nine-year, $324 million deal Gerrit Cole got from the Yankees after the 2019 season as a pitcher.

If we combined those two deals, we’re looking at $624 million—over 11 years, that’s an average annual value of $56.7 million.

These estimates assume that Ohtani will pursue the greatest total contract value he can get over the longest period of time. In reality, Ohtani’s next contract could take on many different shapes. He could opt for a higher annual payout over a shorter duration in hopes of reentering free agency in a few years. It’s also possible he is willing to take a longer deal but at a lower AAV to lessen the tax-threshold implications for his next team. His deal likely will include some combination of player options, team options and mutual options.


RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 15, 2023 at 01:08 PM | 10 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: shohei ohtani

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   1. Walt Davis Posted: August 15, 2023 at 05:28 PM (#6138771)
As the last paragraph of the excerpt shows, the article doesn't really try to tackle the difficult issue here which is how to structure the contract such that it fits Ohtani the hitter and Ohtani the pitcher. The key conundrum being that teams have (esp recently) shown themselves to be comfortable giving position players Ohtani's age contracts of 10-12 years running through their late 30s. But pitchers, there are still no long-term contracts that go deeper than Cole's (9 years through age 37) but teams have been willing to hand out short-term high AAV contracts. (Another issue is that this will be his first season as a full-time SP but I'm putting that aside.)

So Ohtani the hitter can get a contract that runs through (say) age 39 but Ohtani the pitcher can probably only get 8 years (through 36). But Othani the pitcher might not have declined one bit by age 36, or not by much. It works that way far more often for pitchers than hitters, Scherzer and Verlander being two obvious current examples. At age 37, Ohtani the pitcher might get 2/$80 or 3/$120 on the FA market (today's $) but Ohtani the hitter will still be under contract. OK, so only sign through age 36 but then Ohtani runs the risk that he's done as both a pitcher and a hitter when he could have had another 3/$80 left on his hitting conttract. He (or at least his agent's wishes) obviously won't forego an extra guaranteed $80 M as a hitter to get a chance at a possible extra $80 M as a pitcher but he's also not just gonna give up his chance at an extra $80 M as a pitcher.

Anyway, there seems reasonable agreement on the contract for Ohtani the hitter ... something in the Turner/Harper range which would, give or take, be about the same AAV as Yordan's FA years. There seems reasonable agreement on the pitching side too but that's because we have just the one contracts (Cole) to work with ... or Strasburg 7/$245 but nobody wants to be a buzzkill by bringing that one up. The challenge is how to put 11-year and 8-year contracts together in a way that balances the risk/benefit across team and player.
   2. The Honorable Ardo Posted: August 15, 2023 at 09:18 PM (#6138796)
The unspoken factor is whether Ohtani wants a permanent home for the next 10-12 years, or whether he wants a shorter deal that allows him to re-assess and retest the market in his early 30's. We're no longer in a minimal-inflation economy, either.

In Scenario One, the reserve price is $600M and the signed deal probably ends up closer to $700M.

In Scenario Two, we're looking at 4/$240 or 6/$350, something like that.
   3. bookbook Posted: August 15, 2023 at 09:25 PM (#6138798)
He gets 11 years, $479.
   4. chordlonely Posted: September 19, 2023 at 11:52 PM (#6141840)
If Ohtani were a batter, he could earn a contract that lasts until he's 39, but if he were a pitcher, he'd be lucky to get 8 years. However, Othani's pitching performance might not have dwindled at all by age 36. Scherzer and Verlander are two current pitchers who are excellent examples of this phenomenon breakout game. Ohtani the batter will still be under contract at age 37, but Ohtani the pitcher might earn $2/$80 or $3/$120 in today's dollars on the free agent market.
   5. sunday silence (again) Posted: September 20, 2023 at 02:12 AM (#6141848)
He's going on his second Tommy John surgery. Isnt it wishful thinking to think he's going to have a long pitching career? HOnestly I have not studied this issue but are these really that routine now that we can just assume he can keep on pitching?
   6. DCA Posted: September 20, 2023 at 11:38 AM (#6141863)
My off the cuff (non-rigorous, and perhaps wrong) understanding of the post-2nd TJ performance is that it's a roughly equal mix of being almost as good as pre-injury (perhaps just as good as projection including age-related decline), making it back but being much worse, and not making it back at all.

So we aren't necessarily done with two-way Ohtani. I think it's more likely than not that he pitches again, but probably not at a CY level. But he's been good enough than even a much lesser version could have positive value.
   7. The Yankee Clapper Posted: September 20, 2023 at 12:39 PM (#6141866)
It’s not clear whether Ohtani had TJS or the internal brace procedure. Either way there’s uncertainty about his pitching career. That might be finessed by paying him fair market value for his bat but making the pitching part mostly innings-based bonuses, although Ohtani might have enough clout to get a decent base salary for that, too.
   8. Cris E Posted: September 20, 2023 at 12:39 PM (#6141867)
But that's a huge problem in valuing a contract, and a lot of teams are going to be hesitant looking at it. Ohtani just needs a couple to think it's worthwhile, but two weeks ago there would have been a half dozen teams bidding aggressively.
   9. DCA Posted: September 20, 2023 at 02:22 PM (#6141877)
I'll stand by my prediction.

He signs a Judge-size contract (9-10 years at approximately $40m per) with opt-outs after years 2 and 3 so that he can negotiate a bigger contract if/when he shows that he can still pitch at a high level.
   10. Darren Posted: September 20, 2023 at 02:43 PM (#6141879)
The challenge is how to put 11-year and 8-year contracts together in a way that balances the risk/benefit across team and player.


The unspoken factor is whether Ohtani wants a permanent home for the next 10-12 years, or whether he wants a shorter deal that allows him to re-assess and retest the market in his early 30's. We're no longer in a minimal-inflation economy, either.

A possible, imperfect solution to both of these concerns is a player opt-out. Knowing Ohtani will not be pitching until some time in 2025, start with the hitter contract of something like 11/$330 mil. Then add the pitcher half, starting in 2025, pay him like a good but not great pitcher--Gausman/Castillo level, so about 5/$110 mil. Make it a bit longer to assume he'll still be pitching at some level after year 5 so 7/$126 mil? The contract would look like

2024 $30 mil
2025 $48 mil
2026 $48 mil
2027 $48 mil
2028 $48 mil
2029 $48 mil
2030 $48 mil
2031 $48 mil
2032 $30 mil
2033 $30 mil
2034 $30 mil
Total: 11 years, $456 mil.

Ohtani would probably be reluctant to sign, thinking he will return as an elite pitcher. That's where the opt-out comes in. Give Ohtani 2025-26 to reestablish himself as a pitcher. and let him opt out if he wants to. If he does, the team will have gotten 3 years of his hitting and 1.5 to 2 years of his pitching for $126 mil. and Ohtani can hit the market again.

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