Dodgers & Shohei Ohtani make contract official … with $680 million deferred + Crismatt & Salazar MiLB deals and FO moves

So, about that news everybody has been waiting for … well, following the trade earlier today to clear 40-man roster space, Joe Kelly‘s contract with the Dodgers is now official!

Also, the Dodgers finalized some deal with a guy named Shohei Ohtani as well. Longest signing statement ever, so of course it involves Mark Walter.

God, this feels great, man.


Oh right, as far as the other big news from today, Shohei will be making ~$2 million dollars a year for the next decade.

In an effort to enable the Los Angeles Dodgers to continue spending around stars Ohtani, Mookie Betts and Freddie Freeman, Ohtani agreed to defer all but $2 million of his annual salary — $68 million of his $70 million per year — until after the completion of the contract. The deferred money is to be paid out without interest from 2034 to 2043.

The payments will be even throughout the two 10-year periods, meaning Ohtani will make $2 million each year from 2024 to 2033, then $68 million each year from 2034 to 2043.

In the end, his CBT number will be ~$46 million a year for the next 10 years.

The deferrals also give Dodgers extra freedom navigating the competitive balance tax, or luxury tax as it’s called. For CBT purposes, the expected average annual value on the contract is said to be about $46 million per year, people briefed on the terms said. The $46 million average annual value is still the highest in MLB history, topping the $43.3 million average annual value Max Scherzer received in agreeing to a three-year deal with the New York Mets in 2021.
Baseball’s collective bargaining agreement makes clear that there is no limit on how much salary a player and team can agree to defer. The CBA also includes a net-present-value calculation for luxury-tax purposes — a calculation that estimates the value of a player’s contract on a season-by-season basis. That’s how the $46 million figure is determined.

So basically, for all intents and purposes this is a 10-year, $460 million contract, and it’s always hard to characterize that as a bargain, but considering all the other financial factors at play here, it almost certainly is that.

Every team could’ve done this, by the way.

It’s worth noting that Dodgers ownership will have to be setting a significant sum of money aside, regardless.

While it probably won’t matter much in the case of the Dodgers, but there are stipulations that make sure the team spends what he’s saving them.

To assure the Dodgers honor his gesture of unselfishness, Ohtani asked for language in his contract that assures the club will make good on its promise to use the savings he created to build a competitive team around him, according to one source familiar with those negotiations. Balelo would not discuss any such specific language in the contract.

For a question and answer format that holds the hands of baseball fans imploding online over this, Fabian Ardaya and Evan Drellich put one of those together. Additionally, Tim Dierkes posted an article explaining why it’s not against the CBA.

The complaining from opposing fans is nearing never-before-seen levels, by the way. Cherish it.


In news that you surely find just as important, the Dodgers have signed 28-year-old right-handed reliever Nabil Crismatt to a minor-league contract.

This is … actually kinda surprising.

In 2021 and 2022 with the Padres, Crismatt put up a 3.39 ERA/3.76 FIP in 148.2 innings, making him an utterly competent middle relief arm. In 2023, he struggled to a 8.31 ERA in 13 innings, but that was mainly due to hip issues. If they’re able to get him back to his old form and/or he’s simply recovered from his injury, this is a rather amazing depth deal, since not only do they not have to pay him much, but he doesn’t take up a 40-man spot either.

Speaking of less notable signings, 25-year-old right-handed relief pitcher Eduardo Salazar was signed to a minor-league contract and assigned to AAA.

A former member of the Reds, as well as a former starter, Salazar converted to relief in 2023 and had a rough year for the most part. After breaking out in AA with a 0.68 ERA across 13.1 innings, including 22 strikeouts to just two walks, Salazar got a call-up to the majors for his debut. He allowed 11 runs in 12.1 innings there, walking as many batters as he struck out, and then put up a 9.92 ERA in 32.2 AAA innings after being demoted, walking too many batters and not missing enough bats.

That said, while he was in the majors, half his season highlights came against the Dodgers … because of course they did.

Guess he impressed somebody important.


Moving on to front office news, the Dodgers hired Nelson Cruz as an advisor and Chris Archer as a special assistant.

Unfortunately, they are losing field coordinator Shaun Larkin to the Diamondbacks. Fortunately, he’s getting a promotion, which is always nice to see on a personal level.


Anyway, I’m celebrating.

And you can do the same by purchasing a great shirt that will help support the site via the link here.

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"A highly rational Internet troll." - Los Angeles Times