Projected Shohei Ohtani free agency contract is great development for Dodgers

Shohei Ohtani is going to become the highest-paid player in baseball history this offseason and the Dodgers might have a good idea as to what it might take.
Chicago White Sox v Los Angeles Angels
Chicago White Sox v Los Angeles Angels / Ronald Martinez/GettyImages

Almost every Los Angeles Dodgers fan has been crunching the numbers, trying to figure out what Shohei Ohtani will cost in free agency this coming offseason. Once it was evident the Dodgers were seemingly cutting costs to make room for the two-way star, speculation has run rampant.

Many projections have been thrown out there. Not too long ago, some executives believed Ohtani would top the $600 million mark, with most believing he'll be fetching at least $500 million. That would blow Mike Trout's record-setting $426.5 million contract out of the water.

Either way, whichever team signs Ohtani next is going to make baseball history. But for the first time since this conversation has enraptured Dodgers fans, we have the first legitimate mathematical estimation of Ohtani's worth.

We're not saying the other guesses were inaccurate or bad, but when Spotrac, "the largest online sports team and player contract resource on the internet," chimes in, then you know the projection (at that point in time) is probably as close to precise as it's going to get.

Because Ohtani is a one-of-a-kind player, Spotrac priced out the 28-year-old as both a world class hitter and pitcher, which helps give us a true total value of his worth.

Dodgers Rumors: Projected Shohei Ohtani contract helps paint free agency picture

For the sake of rounding up, maybe we're looking at a 12-year, $530 million contract when all is said and done? That would give Ohtani the largest contract ever and the highest average annual value (AAV) ever ($44.16 million) and take him through his age-40 season. Still a bargain.

The most notable hitting comparison for Ohtani is Aaron Judge, who won the AL MVP award in 2022 and then signed a nine-year, $360 million contract ($40 million AAV), which is statistically the largest free agency deal of all time (Trout's deal was an extension).

The most notable pitching comparison for Ohtani would probably be Gerrit Cole's record-setting nine-year, $324 million contract, which was signed back in 2019. In a shorter-term lens, the Mets' megadeals for Max Scherzer (three years, $130 million) and Justin Verlander (two years, $86.66 million) are also good benchmarks.

The Spotrac deal calculated for Ohtani as a hitter came out to $36.22 million per season, which, based on their value models, might make sense ... but is still millions shy of Judge, who many would argue is of the exact same caliber. As for the deal calculated for his pitching value, that comes out to $33.66 million. Again, might be in line with the actual dollar figures in terms of "value," but not entirely aligned with the free agency market.

Nonetheless, most would agree that these are fair estimates. That being said, maybe let's round up to $540 million ($45 million AAV) and call it a day?