Report: Shohei Ohtani avoids arbitration with record $30M deal


Los Angeles Angels star Shohei Ohtani has agreed to a record-breaking contract for next season to avoid arbitration. 

The two-way player will make a fully guaranteed $30 million in 2023, according to ESPN's Jeff Passan. That surpasses the $27 million deal reached by Mookie Betts and the Boston Red Sox in 2020 as the largest contract for an arbitration-eligible player. 

The 28-year-old, set to be a free agent following the 2023 season, is making $5.5 million this year. 

According to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, Ohtani's $24.5 million raise is the largest year-to-year increase in salary for a player in major league history. 

Ohtani, the reigning American League MVP, has gone 15-8 with a 2.35 ERA, 1.03 WHIP and 213 strikeouts on the mound and hit .276 with 34 home runs and 94 RBIs at the plate. In his last outing on Thursday against the Oakland Athletics, Ohtani tossed eight shutout innings, allowing two hits and one walk while striking out 10, his tenth double-digit strikeout performance of the season.

Ohtani debuted with the Angels in 2018, earning AL Rookie of the Year after going 4-2 with a 3.31 ERA in 10 starts and hitting .285. He didn't pitch in 2019 following Tommy John surgery. Ohtani had a historic season in 2021, going 9-2 with a 3.18 ERA and hitting a league-leading 46 home runs, to win MVP.

He again is in contention for MVP this season but faces strong competition from New York Yankees slugger Aaron Judge, who has tied an AL record with 61 home runs and is in position to win the Triple Crown. The 30-year-old Judge is set to become a free agent after the season.  

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