The Los Angeles Angels and Shohei Ohtani agreed to a one-year $30 million dollar deal to avoid arbitration. This is the final year he's under team control before hitting free agency next offseason.
Ohtani is a unicorn. He's an elite hitter and pitcher. He was the 2021 AL MVP winner and finished second this season. He's without a doubt the best player in baseball.
Aaron Judge is the man he finished second in the MVP voting to. Judge broke an AL record with 62 home runs and was a couple of points shy in the batting race of winning the triple crown. He had a historic season and has been one of the best players in baseball since debuting with the Yankees. He just signed a nine-year $360 million dollar deal to remain in New York.
What impact does the Aaron Judge deal have on Shohei Ohtani's next deal?
Judge and Ohtani are different players obviously because of Ohtani's ability to pitch. Judge is the better offensive player, but isn't an ace. For that reason alone, Ohtani will become the highest-paid player in baseball history.
Ohtani will be 29 when he hits free agency while Judge was a free agent at age 31. Ohtani will have virtually every big market team in on him while teams like the Mets and Dodgers who never seemed to be very in on Judge will be main players in the Ohtani sweepstakes.
The Angels getting new ownership should certainly help in regards to retaining Ohtani. If they're willing to buy the team, it's hard to imagine they wouldn't be willing to spend what it took to keep him in Anaheim. The question is, and always has been if Shohei wants to stay here.
The Angels have done well improving their roster but cannot be done. If Arte is really going to sell the team, the new owner should want a competitive ballclub anyway. Go sign a shortstop. Bring in a starter and some relievers.
The Judge deal only increases Ohtani's value. He's younger than Judge so he should get more years. Pitchers like Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer signed large deals at their advanced ages, so the Angels have no reason not to do the same for Ohtani to go through his age 40 or 41 season.
Whatever the contract is, I hope it's to remain an Angel for life.