What are the largest contracts in MLB history?
From Mike Trout’s payday with the Angels to Max Scherzer’s mercenary-style payout, here are the five largest contracts in Major League Baseball (MLB) history.
Los Angeles Angels two-way star Shohei Ohtani is the top player in Major League Baseball. He is a potential trade candidate before the deadline and on the verge of signing a historic and massive contract in free agency. The league’s top teams are expected to compete for Ohtani, resulting in a fierce bidding war.
There is no precedent for Ohtani’s situation, and the outcome is anyone’s guess. Some sources predict that he will receive $500 million or more over 10 or more years, along with several opt-out opportunities included in the contract.
Offering a player an opt-out clause has become common at the top end of the market. It allows players to decide whether to stay in a deal or test the free-agent market at specific agreed-upon points.
Giving Ohtani a vast contract with the ability to re-enter the market if he is dissatisfied would be the modern baseball equivalent of giving him a blank check.
The five largest contracts ever
On December 11, 2000, Alex Rodriguez signed a contract worth $252 million to play for the Texas Rangers instead of staying with the Seattle Mariners, who were contenders for the World Series. The contract is still one of the top 20 all-time highest-value contracts in the history of Major League Baseball. Rodriguez broke his record with a $275 million deal with the New York Yankees in 2008, and it wasn’t until 2019 when Bryce Harper signed a similar deal, that the record was broken again.
If rumors are to be believed, Shohei Ohtani’s next contract could be worth more than $500 million. If that is indeed the case, he would surpass both Rodriguez and Harper to hold the record for the highest-value contract in Major League Baseball history, and not just theirs, but also some other famous names found on this list.