Los Angeles starting pitcher/designated hitter Shohei Ohtani could be in line for a contract worth four years and $200 million, per an MLB executive's comments to Jon Heyman of the New York Post.
"One rival executive said he believes there are likely many teams that would pay him about $200 million for four years," Heyman wrote.
"Teams prefer not to go too deep into the 30s now, but if there’s a feeling Ohtani’s double duty may wear him down earlier than normal, that’s nothing more than a guess."
The 27-year-old Ohtani is hitting .259 (.820 OPS) with 13 home runs and 37 RBI. On the mound, Ohtani is 4-4 with a 3.64 ERA and 71 strikeouts in 54.1 innings.
Ohtani signed a two-year, $8.5 million contract before the 2021 season. He is eligible for arbitration in 2023 and free agency in 2024.
The 2021 American League MVP is clearly one of the most valuable players in the game. Last season, Ohtani cracked 46 home runs with 100 RBI while posting a 3.18 ERA and 156 strikeouts in 23 starts.
The Angels are in a tough spot with Ohtani. They opened this year with a $188.6 million payroll, or the eighth-highest in Major League Baseball, per Cot's Contracts.
Even with Ohtani, superstar Mike Trout, breakout star Taylor Ward and four starting pitchers with sub-four ERA, the Angels are floundering at 29-35. They've endured a 14-game losing streak, and manager Joe Maddon has been fired.
The Angels will have to break the bank for him, and as Heyman noted, it presents an issue.
"It’s a conundrum for sure. Ohtani has enhanced the brand and posted a 9.0 WAR (in 2021) via MVP heroics on both sides of the ball. If he isn’t the best player in the game, he certainly is the biggest talent, and also the most remarkable. Yet, the team isn’t in playoff position again, and raising Ohtani’s pay by tenfold wouldn’t help balance out a team already short on pitching and depth."
On the flip side, the simple and easy answer is to pay Ohtani, because he's one of the greatest talents baseball has ever seen. The Angels may be struggling, but they'd be in far worse shape without him.
For now, the Angels are looking to somehow dig their way out of a 2-18 slide. They open a five-game road series against the Seattle Mariners on Thursday.