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Shohei Ohtani on triple crown watch, could see contract skyrocket

While it will take a strong push at the finish to come to fruition, Shohei Ohtani is officially on Triple Crown watch, and the Angles could pay big to keep him.

While it will take a strong push at the finish to come to fruition, Shohei Ohtani is officially on Triple Crown watch, and the Angles could pay big to keep him.

So much has already been written about Shohei Ohtani. Can he pitch? With the best of them. Can he hit? You bet. Is he the top player in either of those positions? Not quite, but nearly.

The Los Angeles Angels currently have Ohtani on Triple Crown watch. His .306 is the third best average in the league, as is his 89 RBIs, while he leads the league in home runs with 42. It will take a strong push by the Japanese phenom, perhaps more than he is capable of, but should he pull off the feat, Ohtani would be only the 19th player in baseball history to occupy that rarified space.

The last player to do it was Miguel Cabrera in 2012. Before him, a 45 year gap separates Miggy from Carl Yastrzemski in 1967.

Already expected to smash all salary records in free agency, Ohtani could send that already sizeable number into the stratosphere with a Triple Crown win.

Much speculation over the last year and a half has been where Shohei Ohtani will land in free agency. The conventional wisdom is that he could go to the Yankees or Dodgers, perhaps Padres or Astros, even the Rangers have had a sniff. But few pundits are seriously considering the idea that he will stay in Anaheim.

According to ESPN, however, that could be exactly the outcome of the off season’s negotiations.


Arte Moreno has a reputation for spending big on key players and undercutting the surrounding staff. His decision to keep Ohtani during the trade window has not paid off so far, with the Angels losing 13 of their last 18 games.

ESPN staffer Alden Gonzales writes that he believes that Moreno will dig deep and make an offer that simply cannot be refused.

The baseball savants might laugh at the idea, but the Angels seem to believe they have a legitimate shot at keeping Ohtani on board. He is comfortable in LA, he has full autonomy on the field, and has been allowed to develop his two-way game in a way that perhaps no other team would allow.

How much might that offer from the Angels be? Well, industry insiders have been floating the $600-700 million range and that seems doable for Ohtani. His deal, wherever it ends up being, will certainly be north of a decade, with 12 years the most likely time frame.

In this respect, ESPN has climbed even further out onto that limb, calculating his baseline value as $912 million over a 12 year period. And while they aren’t prepared to stake that as their bet for his contract value, they have written that he could command a contract very much nearer $800 million. Adjusting their figure downward by $122.3 million, they land on a contract value of $789.7 million over 12 years.

That number seems laughable on the face of it. But then you realize that Shohei Ohtani might have an outside chance of taking the Triple Crown. And if he does that, then that price tag looks far more reasonable.


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