If you're making $700 million, you get to call the shots -- including, apparently, the shot that involves deferring 97% of that money to the next decade. Accordingly, the Dodgers will be built in Shohei Ohtani's image for as long as he remains with the organization.
But, as his official contract details revealed on Wednesday afternoon, that might not be for the full 10 years of his deal if the Dodgers don't give him his way.
Ken Rosenthal dropped the breakdown of the intricacies of Ohtani's now-official deal on Wednesday, and embedded in the somewhat boilerplate lingo about suites at the stadium and charitable donations was an odd little nugget we can't imagine finds its way into most mega-deals.
According to the stipulations of the contract, Ohtani can terminate the deal at the end of any season if a mysterious change in personnel occurs. Who ... could the mystery Dodgers staffer be? Who wields this much power?!
Which Dodgers employee does Shohei Ohtani deem essential in new contract?
The war of misinformation that could occur if this fell into the wrong hands. The "accidentally" forwarded emails from the Yankees and Mets to this particular coach or executive featuring fabricated Dave Roberts smack talk. Or, wait, maybe it's Roberts?! No, no, the Dodgers wouldn't be that cavalier. If this particular team doesn't make a World Series run, his tenure's probably over at the end of the season.
At first blush, it felt like this clause probably referred to Ohtani's interpreter, Ippei Mizuhara -- or, at least, that was the simplest possible explanation. If Ohtani was demanding the Dodgers keep third base coach Dino Ebel in place and threatening to breach his contract if they didn't acquiesce, that would feel a little out of hand.
As it turns out, though, this was actually a more unexpected stipulation. If Andrew Friedman or controlling owner Mark Walker leave the Dodgers during Ohtani's tenure, or are dismissed, Ohtani would be presented with the ability to opt out. Friedman just, essentially, negotiated his own 10-year extension. Wild amount of job security -- but, clearly, Ohtani values continuity above all else and really connected with the Dodgers' braintrust.
In all, the Japanese sensation/face of baseball will receive a contract that counts $46 million annually against the CBT, is technically valued at ~$438 million according to the union, and rests entirely on the continued employment of the men who brought him here.
No word yet on whether Ohtani's permissions will change based on the outcome of the Dodgers' courting of Yoshinobu Yamamoto, and whether he'll be able to void the contract entirely if his sales pitch wasn't deemed strong enough. Always be closing.