CLEVELAND — Shohei Ohtani signed a 10-year $700 million contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers over the weekend. Jonathan Ernest, an assistant professor at Case Western Reserve University, broke down the contract.

What You Need To Know

  • Shohei Ohtani signed the largest MLB contract 

  • It raises concerns for smaller market teams, like the Guardians and the Reds, and whether they can compete 

  • Some Guardians fans hoped for Ohtani to come to Cleveland, but the team wasn't in the running 

“The contract has kind of made some waves because it had the headline figure of $700 million over 10 years, which is $70 million per year. But, he’s essentially deferred all but $2 million per year to be paid out after the 10 years,” Ernest said.

Ernest said it is a pretty good deal because of what Ohtani provides.

“He can also not only pitch, but hit, and he’s continuing to pitch much later into his career, not just focusing on hitting and hitting really effectively and so he’s contributing on both sides of the ball at a really high level,” he said.

He compared Ohtani to players like New York Yankees star Aaron Judge, who makes $40 million a year, mostly because of his hitting abilities. Although, Ohtani brings both pitching and hitting expertise.

“Here you’re really getting both, but not for double that premium that you would have to pay to bring in one really top pitcher and one really top hitter, you’re getting both in one package for less than $80 dollars,” he said.

Hannah Newhart, who has been a fan of Ohtani for a long time, said she was excited about his deal.

“It’s kind of a once in a lifetime generational player, you know, he can hit and he can pitch. He’s phenomenal at both,” she said.

Newhart said she’s also a Guardians fan and had hopes that Ohtani might end up in Cleveland, but the organization wasn’t even in the running to get him.

“I think the frustration, where it comes from, is you know the Guardians have a certain payroll, but like you know, bigger markets like the Mets, Yankees, the Dodgers obviously have more money that they can spend,” she said.

Although small market teams rarely get stars like Ohtani, Ernest said that they can still find ways to win.

“We’ve seen the introduction of lots more data analysis, scrutiny, the entire Moneyball world that came out of the Oakland A’s, where they were not at all a large market team, a very small market team with a very low budget who said well we just need to win in different ways and find players who we can develop who have skills that are being unvalued, etc,” he said.