Mark Walter Predicted Dodgers Would Sign Shohei Ohtani

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The Los Angeles Dodgers achieved arguably their biggest goal of the offseason by signing Shohei Ohtani, who was said to be a top target for the Guggenheim ownership group and president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman.

The Dodgers had long appeared to be planning for Othani’s free agency, and their interest — or determination — to signing the two-way superstar reportedly increased after a second consecutive postseason failure.

That culminated with Ohtani signing a record-setting 10-year, $700 million contract with the Dodgers. Though, he provided financial flexibility by deferring $680 million of his salary until after the contract expires.

Ohtani was formally introduced during a press conference at Dodger Stadium, which was attended by Dodgers owner Mark Walter, president and CEO Stan Kasten, Friedman and more members from the front office and organization.

During an appearance with David Vassegh on “Dodger Talk” after the festivities, MLB Network personality Harold Reynolds relayed a prediction Walter made about signing Ohtani when watching him at the 2022 MLB All-Star Game, via AM 570 L.A. Sports Radio:

“I’ve gotten to know Mark Walter, the owner of the Dodgers, over the last four or five years, and I can give the backstory now. I remember the All-Star Game here in L.A., guys are taking B.P. and players are out there, and he goes, ‘I want that guy right there. I’m going to get him in two years.’ He was talking about Ohtani. That was his plan.

“You have to start planning along the way if you’re going to land one of these players. And just watching the way Mark has gone about things, whether it’s the Lakers, whether it’s the Dodgers, Chelsea soccer team or Guggenheim, he’s got a plan and what he’s trying to do.”

The Dodgers’ interest in Ohtani predates Walter’s arrival with the Guggenheim ownership group in 2012, as they attempted to sign him out of high school. Ohtani ultimately elected to remain in Japan and play for the Nippon Ham Fighters before getting posted in 2017.

The Dodgers were among the teams to secure a meeting with Ohtani, but he stunned the industry by signing with the Los Angeles Angels. It’s believed the Dodgers were negatively affected in part by MLB not yet having a universal designated hitter implemented.

Shohei Ohtani contract clause includes Mark Walter

One of the many intriguing details of Ohtani’s contract with the Dodgers is a clause tied to the future of Walter and Friedman. If either is removed from their current roles, Ohtani will be permitted to potentially opt out of his contract.

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