How Shohei Ohtani became baseball’s record $70-million man this year

Angels star Shohei Ohtani runs to first as he flies out against the Dodgers

Angels star Shohei Ohtani will make more than any other Major League Baseball player in 2023, according to Sportico. (Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press)

Shohei Ohtani might secure the richest contract in baseball history next winter, but his 2023 earnings will set a record for any baseball player in a single year.

Ohtani is expected to receive an estimated $70 million this year, including $30 million in salary from the Angels and $40 million in endorsements, Sportico reported late Monday night. Max Scherzer ($60.3 million) and Justin Verlander ($44.3 million) were next in line behind Ohtani on Sportico’s list.

The endorsement revenue puts Ohtani “on a level reserved for global soccer and basketball icons,” Sportico reported.

Ohtani ranks third in salary this season on his own team, trailing third baseman Anthony Rendon ($38 million) and outfielder Mike Trout ($35.45 million).

Sportico reported the following endorsement revenue estimates, showing a substantial gap between Ohtani and his peers.

Trout, a three-time American League most valuable player widely regarded as the best player in baseball during the last decade, is expected to make $5 million in endorsements this year. Aaron Judge of the New York Yankees, the 2022 AL MVP, is in line to make $4 million in endorsements this year.

Ohtani, the 2021 AL MVP, broadened his popularity as the face of the World Baseball Classic, during which he led Japan to the championship. Ohtani added 2 million followers on Instagram during the three-week tournament, according to Major League Baseball. His total of 5.3 million followers is more than twice as many as any other MLB player, according to Sportico.

Ohtani’s global marketability can only enhance his already stratospheric value as a player, with his unprecedented combination of hitting and pitching excellence. If he stays healthy this season, the bidding for his next contract could start at $500 million, with the Angels, Dodgers, New York Mets and San Diego Padres among the teams expected to compete to sign him.

Ohtani is scheduled to start — at pitcher and designated hitter — for the Angels on Thursday night, when they open the season at Oakland.

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.

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