In case you somehow weren’t a believer before, Shohei Ohtani’s ridiculous performance during the World Baseball Classic cemented his place as MLB’s best player.
For the tournament, Ohtani batted .435 with one homer, four doubles, eight RBIs and 10 walks as Japan joined the Dominican Republic in 2013 to become the only unbeaten champions of baseball’s premier national team tournament. The 2021 AL MVP was 2-0 with a save and a 1.86 ERA on the mound, striking out 11 in 9 2/3 innings.
He also concluded proceedings by striking out teammate Mike Trout, getting him to swing and miss on three pitches.
Not only his he the best player now, but he’s the most transcendent talent in recent memory. An All-Star caliber player at both the plate and on the mound, what his contract will be when he hits the open market is sure to hit unprecedented heights.
How crazy will it get? Let’s just say $100 million more than any contract in MLB history according to Buster Olney.
“It’s going to be the year of Ohtani, there’s no doubt about that,” Olney said on ESPN’s “Get Up”. “Think about it: At the WBC he had the hardest hit ball, 118 m.p.h.; he had the hardest pitched ball, 102 m.p.h.. Yes, the Angels will keep him throughout the year. Their owner Artie Moreno is on the record as saying ‘If we’re competing, we’re going to keep him, and then he’ll become a free agent.’
“At that point the question becomes, does the offer he signs start with a five or start with a number six. I think it’s going to be $600 million-plus because there’s nobody in baseball that can do what he can do, that can replicate his marketability. We’re going to be talking about him through the trade deadline, we’re going to be talking about him going into the offseason, and all the way through free agency.”
Ohtani is set to hit free agency next offseason, and all indicators are that he’s not interested in an extension with the Angels before that period.
There have been plenty of rumors linking him to the Giants, but Olney didn’t name them as one of the top suitors.
“Mets, Dodgers, maybe the Yankees, maybe the Mariners, maybe the Angels trying to keep him, he’s going to have enormous bidding for the best player in the world,” Olney said.
Ohtani’s teammate Mike Trout currently has the most lucrative contract in MLB, signing a 12-year, $426.5 million deal in 2019.