The Los Angeles Dodgers are set to welcome their newest superstar to the team after signing the two-way sensation to a record-shattering contract last weekend.
Two-time American League Most Valuable Player Shohei Ohtani will be introduced to fans Thursday during a press conference at the team's stadium. The event at Dodger Stadium's Centerfield Plaza is slated to start at 6 p.m. ET.
“Dodger fans, thank you for welcoming me to your team,” Ohtani said in a statement released by the club. “I can say 100 percent that you, the Dodger organization and I share the same goal — to bring World Series parades to the streets of Los Angeles.”
The 29-year-old Ohtani agreed to a record 10-year, $700 million contract with the Dodgers Saturday after a six-year stint with the cross-town Los Angeles Angels. However, the dual sensation — who excels as both a hitter and a pitcher — has reportedly chosen to accept just $2 million annually, deferring the remaining $680 million until 2034 and freeing up the Dodgers' payroll to build around him in coming seasons.
Meanwhile, the Associated Press reported Wednesday that Ohtani's record-breaking deal includes a provision that actually allows him to opt out at the end of the 2024 season if Dodgers owner Mark Walter or president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman decide to leave the team. The provision was reportedly agreed upon in a letter that has not yet been submitted to the league.
Nevertheless, Dodgers fans are already gearing up to welcome the future of their franchise to Hollywood. The MLB said Wednesday that Ohtani's No. 17 Dodgers jersey set a sales record on the sports apparel site Fanatics, more than doubling sales of the previous record holder, soccer icon Lionel Messi.
At this point, it appears the words "record" and "Ohtani" are synonymous. Many are saying he's the greatest to ever play the sport, and it's hard to argue against it. But one thing that remains uncertain is whether Ohtani and a stacked Dodgers lineup will be able to bring a World Series title back to Los Angeles for the first time since 2020.
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