MLB’s Ohtani, short-term deal ‘could be off the table’ for highest salary in history

Two-hit wonder Shohei Ohtani, 29, who has been tipped for the biggest contract in Major League Baseball (MLB) free agency, could set an all-time record for highest salary if he opts for a short-term deal instead of a long-term one.

CBS Sports in the U.S. reported on Thursday (June 24) that Ohtani is likely to become the highest-paid player in the big leagues in 2024, as well as the highest average salary in history, assuming he signs a short-term contract.

Ohtani, who was unanimously voted the American League Most Valuable Player (MVP) for the second time this year after 2021 in a BBWAA vote, is considered a pioneer in the $500 million (KRW652.6 billion) era with a long-term contract.

However, after undergoing surgery on his right elbow ligament after this season, Ohtani will not be able to take the mound until next year, and rumors are slowly spreading in the U.S. media through his entourage that he will opt for a short-term contract instead of a long-term deal this time.

The speculation is also fueled by the prospect of Ohtani returning to the free-agent market after a complete rehabilitation as a pitcher and signing a better deal than he has now.

Predictions that Ohtani would receive more than $500 million haven’t changed much, but they’ve subtly shifted to include more years on his contract instead of stopping at the symbolic $500 million total.

With the drop in projections due to the surgery, Ohtani’s year-to-year salary is also below expectations.

So the alternative to increasing his salary and market value is the possibility of a short-term deal.

The highest salaries in the big leagues in 2024 are $43.33 million ($565 million) for pitchers Max Scherzer (Texas Rangers) and Justin Verlander (Houston Astros). It’s also the highest average salary for any contract in history.

The New York Mets signed Scherzer for $130 million over three years in 2022 and Verlander for $86.66 million over two years in 2023.

The Mets traded both players to Texas and Houston in exchange for salary relief after they underperformed this year.

Given Ohtani’s age, a short-term deal of two or three years would pay him more than Scherzer and Verlander, according to CBS Sports.

The next three highest-paid players next year are “home run king” Aaron Judge (New York Yankees – same average), who is scheduled for $40 million, and hard-throwing pitcher Jacob deGrom (Texas – $37 million).

Ohtani signed a one-year contract with the Angels for $30 million, the most ever for a player eligible for salary adjustment after last season.

He declined the Angels’ qualifying offer (one-year, $23.25 million) after this season and became a free agent. 먹튀검증

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