Sources: Ohtani can opt out if Dodgers execs exit


LOS ANGELES — Shohei Ohtani’s historic deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers allows him to opt out if owner Mark Walter or president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman is no longer involved with the team, industry sources told ESPN.

The email outlining Ohtani’s contract that was distributed by the Major League Baseball Players Association on Wednesday and reviewed by ESPN, stated: “If specific change in Dodger personnel, Player may opt out of contract at end of season the change occurs.” Two sources familiar with the contract confirmed an initial report by The Associated Press that the “specific change” is in reference to Walter and Friedman.

Ohtani agreed to a 10-year, $700 million contract with the Dodgers on Saturday, making him the highest-paid athlete in North American professional sports history. The deal, formally announced by the Dodgers on Monday, comes with heavy deferrals. Ohtani will be paid $680 million in the 10 years that follow the deal, from 2034 to 2043.

The Dodgers will pay Ohtani $2 million for every season of his playing career but have to put an additional $44 million into an escrow account to fund the deferrals. The total value of Ohtani’s contract when accounting for the deferrals, according to the MLBPA, is $437,830,563. The Dodgers’ annual charge toward their competitive balance tax payroll will still be about $46 million.

The contract doesn’t include a traditional opt-out but does come with a full no-trade clause. Ohtani will get a suite at Dodger Stadium for all regular-season and postseason games and will also donate up to 1% of his deal to the team’s charitable foundation, which is standard language for free agent deals.

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