Baseball star Shohei Ohtani is set to defer $68 million of his $70m annual salary at the LA Dodgers when he joins the Todd Boehly-owned team in 2024.
The Japanese player, who has been compared to PSG forward Kylian Mbappe in recent days, has agreed to leave the Angels and join the Dodgers on a 10-year deal worth $700m.
However, it has now been revealed that Ohtani has agreed to defer 97.1% of his wages until after his contract expires. As a result, he will earn $2m per year during his playing career with the Dodgers and will be paid the deferred money without interest from 2034 to 2043.
That is according to The Athletic’s LA Dodgers reporter Fabian Ardaya, who has added that Ohtani has agreed to this wage deferral in order to allow the team to continue spending huge sums of money.
Furthermore, it was reportedly Ohtani’s idea to defer his wages as that suggestion enabled him to negotiate a 10-year deal worth $700m.
As per The Athletic, “the unusual structure is intended to provide the Dodgers additional cash flow and payroll flexibility. The deferrals also give Dodgers extra freedom navigating the competitive balance tax, or luxury tax as it’s called.
“In the meantime, Ohtani continues to bring in big dollars elsewhere from endorsements and off-the-field ventures. Ohtani is believed to make $50 million per year annually away from the diamond.”
Boehly copies Chelsea trick with the LA Dodgers
In a move directly opposing the theme of famous baseball film Moneyball, Boehly has copied a tactic he’s used since taking over Chelsea in 2022.
The American billionaire has spent over €1 billion on new signings since becoming the owner at Stamford Bridge and he has managed to bypass Financial Fair Play rules by amortising transfer fees across huge contracts.
Robert Sanchez, Djordje Petrovic, Wesley Fofana, Malo Gusto, Benoit Badiashile, Romeo Lavia, Lesley Ugochukwu, Enzo Fernandez, Moises Caicedo, Noni Madueke, Mykhailo Mudryk, Cole Palmer, Deivid Washington and Nicolas Jackson have all signed at least seven-year deals at Chelsea after joining the club under Boehly’s reign.
By comparison, the movie Moneyball dives into a real-life story of a cash-strapped baseball team (Oakland Athletics) and their use of statistics to find bargain players and challenge the best teams in the MLB.
Following Ohtani’s mega-money move to the Dodgers, however, Oakland Athletics were on the end of a viral Tweet by noted sports business reporter Darren Rovell.
Rovell posted on X: “$700 Million: What the Dodgers just agreed to pay Shohei Ohtani. $667 Million: Total Oakland A’s Payroll, Last 10 Seasons.”
Boehly has the funds to spend billions in both baseball and football, and Ohtani’s wage deferral deal with the LA Dodgers is very similar to the amortisation of transfer fees that Boehly has overseen at Chelsea.