We have used this idea for the last couple of years. The idea is to go through some of the top free agents, use the contract FanGraphs suggests they will get and have a poll asking if we would like to sign him for that amount.
Ohtani turned 29 in July. Last year, he won the AL MVP Award and finished fourth in the Cy Young voting. He is one of the three ‘finalists’ for the MVP award this year. We’ll find out who is the winner tomorrow.
In 2023, he had a 4.0 bWAR as a pitcher and 6.0 bWAR as a batter. Unfortunately, he won’t be pitching next season after elbow surgery in September (after having Tommy John surgery in 2018). There is a question of whether he will or if he should pitch again.
If he does pitch again, he could be a 10 WAR player. If not, well, a 6 WAR batter is still pretty terrific. He led the AL in homers, OBP and Slugging last year.
Beyond what he does on the baseball field, he is worth a ton to whatever team signs him in sponsorships, attendance, and merchandise.
There is some question on whether he’ll be going for a long-term (10 years or more) contract this year or if he’ll be looking for a higher average value on a shorter-term deal and look to make even more next time around as a free agent.
Keith Law says:
In the best-case scenario, where he returns to pitch as a starter by 2025, he’d project to some 8-10 WAR seasons, and that’s a $50 million player just on the baseball merits, probably twice that if you factor in the ancillary revenue he generates for the team. He’s not getting that, but he should break the $50 million barrier, and given his age he shouldn’t settle for any less than the 10-year deals that have become the norm for the top free agents.
Only one thing is certain: Every team with the capability to offer Ohtani a big contract will try to woo him. We don’t know enough about his preferences to know where he will or won’t play, but you’d be a fool not to throw your hat in the ring just in case. If there were other free agents of similar-but-lesser value, he might hold up their market. In this year’s class, though, he stands alone by so much that I think teams will treat him as independent from the rest of their plans.
Ben figures Ohtani will get a 13-year, $527 million contract ($40.5 million a year). That’s a fair bit of change. With many teams talking to him, I wouldn’t be surprised if the yearly average goes higher than that. Teams will have to decide if
Should the Blue Jays sign Shohei Ohtani if the price is $40.5 million annually for 13 years?
This poll is closed
Probably, but I’m not enthusiastic about if
Probably not, but I wouldn’t hate it
No, Absolutely not