Source: Shohei Ohtani Will Lose About $100M in Free Agency Due to Elbow Injury

Source: Shohei Ohtani Will Lose About $100M in Free Agency Due to Elbow Injury article feature image

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Shohei Ohtani will lose about $100 million in free agency this winter due to an injury to his elbow, a high-ranking front office source told the Action Network on Thursday.

Ohtani tore the UCL in his right elbow, the typical precursor to Tommy John surgery, the team announced on Thursday. Ohtani already underwent the surgery after the 2018 MLB season.

The figure given by the front office source assumes an 80% probability that Ohtani returns to action as a pitcher at some point in his career.

Ohtani, like many players, is averse to Tommy John and preferred to nurse the injury for a few months before deciding on surgery in 2018. He may opt for the same route this time around.

If Ohtani elects to take the conservative route and treat the injury instead of getting surgery, teams may not be as interested, this front office source said. His value, too, may go down if he decides this route, this high-ranking source said.

For what it's worth, The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal reported on Thursday morning that Ohtani is still worth about $500 million in the open market, according to his sources.

Keep in mind that Aaron Judge received $360 million over nine years last offseason. Ohtani is currently outcompeting Judge at the plate in almost every major offensive category.

Effectively, whichever team signs Ohtani will pay him as a hitter while adding incentives that are tied to his ability to return as a pitcher, which is likely to push him over the $500 million mark.

A different, high-ranking front office source said these incentives will drastically reorient Ohtani's decision making process.

Does he take the deal with more upfront guarantees? Or the contract that gives him the highest potential value, based on incentives? Or does he take the deal that allows him the most flexibility to once again enter free agency, betting on himself to return as a top pitcher?

The myriad options in front of him will present him with more choices — which isn't necessarily a good thing. It may, however, bring in a wider array of suitors.

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