Experts agree Shohei Ohtani's free agent contract (with Dodgers?) will shatter records

Los Angeles Angels v Oakland Athletics
Los Angeles Angels v Oakland Athletics / Thearon W. Henderson/GettyImages

The Los Angeles Dodgers largely bypassed free agency in 2022-23, saving their significant budget for Shohei Ohtani's forthcoming free agency (while willfully ignoring the potholes and obstacles that could be in their way).

New ownership in Anaheim might not want to let him go, especially after the Angels made several "win now" moves this offseason (but not, like, absurd "win now" moves). The New York Mets had Carlos Correa fall into their laps, but clearly there's no limit to Steve Cohen's checkbook, and they're still viewed as the favorites for Ohtani next offseason in some circles.

The Mariners might -- well, actually ... The Yankees could -- but he said no last time ... What about ... OK, fine, the Angels and Mets are really the only potholes here. But if the Dodgers want to cross the finish line with a winning package, it's going to take the largest free agent deal in MLB history.

In other words, take the nine-year, $360 million Aaron Judge contract and tack a Cy Young-caliber starter onto it.

MLB insider Jon Heyman spoke to nine agents (who would know best) about Ohtani's forthcoming deal, and a non-zero number of those agents think the Dodgers can expect to pay $500 million for a decade's worth of Ohtani's services. At the very least, they'll have to top Mike Trout.

Dodgers' Shohei Ohtani contract offer could start with a 5

Of the nine agents, Agents A through C are the most encouraging for LA:

"Agent A: “He will definitely beat Trout, and you have to go from there.” (Mike Trout signed a 12-year, $426.5M deal) Agent B: “Should get $400M-plus to a winner.” Agent C: “$430 [million] to $440 over 10 years.”"

Trio of Agents

But Agents F and H, on the other hand, want to hamstring the Dodgers through 2038.

"Agent F: “$500M for 13/14 [years]— $250M per position” Agent H: “11 times 50 = $550M. Sounds crazy but he has the ability to consistently be a 9/10 WAR player.” "

Two Wild Agents

This season, the Dodgers will be paying an unexpected $32 million to Trevor Bauer so that he can play somewhere else, in addition to fitting JD Martinez's $10 million contract in among the rookies and second-year players.

Next season? They'll have to prepare between $45 and $50 million annually if they want to sign their current top prize, while also jingling some keys off in Steve Cohen's peripheral vision to distract him. It's going to be tough, but someone has to do it.

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