The Ohtani contract instantly surpassed the highest contract in Major League Baseball (Mike Trout, 12 years in total) and the largest contract in North American sports history, becoming the highest in terms of total value in the world’s sports history. Of course, the payment deferral method, in which 680 million U.S. dollars out of 700 million dollars is paid in installments after 10 years, does not mean that the actual value is 700 million dollars, but Ohtani has a symbol that will not be broken for a while. The prevailing view is that the Dodgers have made great profits without spending money right away.
Ohtani, however, was only interested in the size of his contract, as he was expected to sign a major contract anyway. Rather, some analysts say that the more shocking contract was Yamamoto’s. Of course, he was selected as the best starting pitcher this offseason, but Yamamoto’s contract was initially expected to be around 200 million dollars. However, he broke the biggest contract (nine years, 324 million dollars) for a pitcher in the Major League Baseball that Garrett Cole of the New York Yankees held for more than 300 million dollars.
No matter how good and promising he is, he paid $325 million to a player who has never played a single game in the Major League Baseball. In addition, he has 12 years of contract. Usually, Major League Baseball teams are reluctant to give contracts for pitchers who are at higher risk for injury than the fielders for more than seven years. Yamamoto, by the way, has 12 years. It is the longest contract in the history of Major League Baseball’s FA, and the second one for more than 10 years.
The Dodgers, however, must have been anxious as well. The Associated Press disclosed Yamamoto’s detailed terms and conditions of the contract on Monday (Korea time). The salaries of players are slightly different every year, and providing various benefits for the convenience of players is not much different from other large contracts. One interesting thing is the opt-out clause. At the time of the contract, Yamamoto reportedly exercised his opt-out authority after the end of the 2029 season and after the end of the 2031 season.
If you are confident that you can earn more money in the FA market based on the players’ market price, you should opt out. However, you can’t opt out at this time unconditionally. To do so, you have to be healthy before that. Dodgers has also subscribed to its own insurance. If you are on the long-term injured list, your opt-out right will be delayed by two years from 2031 to 2033, respectively.
There are two criteria. Yamamoto must not undergo major reconstruction of his elbow, commonly called Tommy John Surgery, from this year to 2029. He must also not be placed on the injured list for 134 consecutive days due to right elbow injury. When a pitcher has 134 consecutive days off, it is often an elbow or shoulder problem. If either condition is met, Yamamoto’s opt-outs will be delayed by two years each.
Local speculation is that the Dodgers may have entered into the contract to prepare for Yamamoto’s elbow surgery. As pitchers pitch stronger balls, ligaments are reaching their limits. Tommy John surgery is now an issue even for amateur players. Dodgers has continued to cry recently due to elbow injury. When young pitchers such as Walker Buehler, Dustin May, and Tony Gonsolin had to hit hard, elbow surgery cut off the flow. Tyler Glasnow, who was acquired in a trade, also had a history of elbow surgery.
Skeptics are concerned about Yamamoto’s small physique. Amamoto is in the mid-170s. The size itself can be described as compact. Nevertheless, he throws a powerful ball that exceeds 150 kilometers per hour. He doesn’t even have a wind-up posture to gather strength. No matter how young a player is, he is concerned that he will one day get sick if he enters the rotation after a four-day break. The contract reveals that the Dodgers didn’t think that way at all. How will Yamamoto respond.