Shohei Ohtani is still only arbitration-eligible, meaning he’s still being significantly underpaid compared to his production — even with his terrible 2020 season and his 2018 pitching injury thrown in, but the two-year contract announced Monday, $3 million this year and $5.5 million for 2022, likely represent new highs for him.
Read the Kyodo News (English) story.
The 2016 MVP of Japan’s Pacific League, earned a reported 270 million yen ($2.4 million) as a 22-year-old in 2017 with the Nippon Ham Fighters. As a 23-year-old, MLB and its union worked to declare him an amateur in its latest CBA, meaning a limited signing bonus and a guaranteed minor league contract.
The Nikkan Sports did a nifty little table of his earnings through 2020, with the understanding that Japanese figures are just what the player and team want you to hear and don’t always reflect reality. This means it is possible that Ohtani earned far more in 2017 than the figure that was officially leaked and that his 2020 salary is not yet the highest of his career.
|2015||100 mil.||$794,211||PL Best 9 (P)|
|2016||200 mil.||$1.74 mil.||PL Best 9 (P, DH), PL MVP|
|2017||270 mil.||$2.31 mil.|
|2018||60 mil.||$545,000||AL ROY|
|2021||315 mil.||$3 mil.|
|2022||577 mil.||$5.5 mil.|