‘MVP+Homer’ candidate Ohtani switches agents ahead of free agency ‘jackpot’? Suspicions raised by Japanese media
Los Angeles Angels “baseball prodigy” Shohei Ohtani will become a free agent for the first time in his career at the end of the 2023 season. There is little doubt that Ohtani, who has broken numerous major league records over the past three years, including this season, will be looking for a “jackpot” contract. The biggest question mark in this situation is the size.
At the World Baseball Classic (WBC) in March of this year, Ohtani put on a one-man show with the Idoryu. From Group B to the finals, Ohtani became the “hero” of the tournament. Not only did he lead Japan to victory, but he also won the WBC MVP title.
He made such an impact at the WBC, which also featured major league superstars, that his salary skyrocketed after the tournament ended. The most common price tag for Ohtani during last season was $400 million (approx. KRW 512.2 billion), but after the WBC, “$500 million” was often mentioned as the size of Ohtani’s free agent contract.
Ohtani is worth it. While Ohtani has been unable to accumulate wins in his last four starts, he is 6-2 with a 3.29 ERA in 14 appearances on the mound this year. His 105 strikeouts are second in the American League, and his walks lead the majors. Unlike last year, Ohtani has been shining at the plate this year.안전놀이터
As of April 20, Ohtani is batting .300 with 24 home runs, 58 RBIs, 49 runs scored, and a 1.015 OPS in 72 games. The former American League home run leader, Aaron Judge (New York Yankees), has been on a tear since being sidelined with an injury, and he’s pulled away from the top spot. He leads the American League in home runs, RBIs, on-base percentage, and OPS.
In other words, Ohtani is playing the role of one of the best pitchers and hitters in the majors, who are paid tens of billions of dollars every year. To put it simply, Ohtani is doing what Gerrit Cole (Yankees) and Aaron Judge (Yankees) are doing. From the team’s perspective, the roster spot created by Ohtani’s presence can be utilized more effectively.
With so much attention focused on Ohtani’s future as a free agent, Japan’s Nikkan Gendai reported that “Ohtani’s agent, Nezu Valero, must be frantic,” raising the possibility that Ohtani could change agents before free agency. When it comes to agent-player contracts, the player is the boss. That’s why they can change agents whenever they want.
Valero is “serious” about Ohtani. Whenever Ohtani plays at Angel Stadium in California, he’s always there. He even bought an annual ticket to watch him play, and even traveled with him to Japan and the U.S. during the WBC to support the superstar. However, Nikkan Gendai mentioned the possibility of a change of agent, citing Ohtani’s “behavior” and “money”. The target is Scott Boras.
“It’s not uncommon for players to change agents,” Nikkan Gendai quoted an anonymous correspondent as saying. In any case, there is no agent who can beat Scott Boras in terms of extracting high-priced terms.” “The best example of a high-priced contract is Anthony Rendon. After leading the league in batting with 34 home runs, 126 RBIs and a .319 batting average in the 2019 season, he signed a massive seven-year, $245 million contract, in large part due to Boras.”
Known as the “Devil’s Agent,” Boras is considered one of the “best” agents in Major League Baseball, having secured some of the biggest contracts ever. Some of the most notable deals for Korean players include Park Chan-ho’s five-year, $60 million deal with the Texas Rangers, Choo Shin-soo’s seven-year, $130 million deal with Texas, and Ryu Hyun-jin’s four-year, $80 million deal with Toronto, Even before this season, the Yankees and Carlos Rodon’s 162 million won ($207.6 million), Minnesota and Carlos Correa’s 350 million won ($44.85 million), and San Diego and Xander Bogaerts’ 280 million won ($35.88 million).
It wasn’t all about “loyalty,” either. The anonymous correspondent said, “Ohtani is a businesslike person. In January of this year, he cut ties with Asics, who had supported him since his high school days, and signed a contract worth more than 5 billion yen with New Balance. There are those who say that Boras will do whatever it takes to get a player the recognition he deserves, but that’s why he’s so important to the player,” he said, emphasizing that there’s a possibility that the player might switch agents.
The $500 million price tag for Ohtani is currently the “biggest contract” in world sports. Even Cristiano Ronaldo has never had a contract like that. It’s unclear whether Ohtani, who is closing in on the American League MVP and home run leader ahead of free agency, will be accompanied by Valero or Boras. What is clear, however, is that if Boras and Ohtani go together, the contract could be worth more than $500 million. What will Ohtani decide?