Free agent Shohei Ohtani signs with L.A. Dodgers in stunning $700M deal


Dec. 9 (UPI) -- Coveted baseball free agent Shohei Ohtani announced Saturday he has signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers in what his agent says is a $700 million deal, making it the most lucrative player contract in sports history.

Nez Balelo, Ohtani's agent, told the deal with the Dodgers is for 10 years and surpasses other massive sports contracts such as Lionel Messi's $674 million deal with FC Barcelona from 2017-21.

The announcement of the new contract wraps up months of intense speculation and rumors over the destination of one the most unique players in MLB history -- a two-way star who is among the best in the game in both pitching and hitting.

He is coming off his second career American League Most Valuable Player Award with his former team, the Los Angeles Angels.

"To all Dodgers fans, I pledge to always do what's best for the team and always continue to give it my all to be the best version of myself," Ohtani wrote on Instagram. "Until the last day of my playing career, I want to continue to strive forward not only for the Dodgers but for the baseball world."

"I would like to express my sincere gratitude to everyone involved with the Angels organization and the fans who have supported me over the past six years, as well as to everyone involved in the negotiation process," he added. "Especially to the Angels fans who supported me through all the ups and downs, your guys' support and cheer meant the world to me."

Ohtani said he would reveal more information "at a later press conference."

The Angels went 73-89 in 2023, missing the postseason for the ninth-consecutive season despite employing Ohtani after he signed a one-year, $30 million deal to avoid arbitration.

The 2021 American League MVP underwent surgery on his right elbow in September and is not expected to pitch again until 2025.