Dodgers fans rejoicing following the finalization of Shohei Ohtani's 10 year, $700 million contract with a never-before-seen $680 million to be doled out in deferred payments should read like the worst kind of hypocrisy to San Diego Padres fans.
The Padres some huge contracts on the books; this is common knowledge. Fernando Tatis, Manny Machado, Xander Bogaerts are slated to stay in San Diego well into the 2030s, so probably for the rest of their careers. Their contracts have taken a lot of flack from Dodgers fans, especially after the team finished third in the NL West this year and The Athletic revealed that they had to take out a loan to settle a number of debts, including payroll, this year.
Machado and Bogaerts have taken the brunt of the criticism, as they'll both be in their early 40s by the time their contracts expire, but even Yu Darvish and Jake Cronenworth's smaller ones have been picked apart by Dodgers fans who argue that the Padres have spent too much money over too long a time while not being able to put together a winning team.
Dodgers-Shohei Ohtani contract details show past criticism of Padres is hypocritical
The Padres are imperfect, it's true, but the Dodgers have also just invited the kind of risk the Padres took on with Manny, Xander, Fernando, and co. with their signing of Ohtani. Ohtani is a one-of-a-kind player — this is an indisputable fact of the universe — one who will also not be able to do half of what a two-way player is supposed to do until 2025 at the earliest. Even then, who knows if he'll be able to return to the kind of form he was in during 2022 and 2023?
Not to mention the deferrals. An exact schedule of payments has yet to be released, but we do know that Ohtani will only be making $2 million for each of the 10 years he remains with the Dodgers, less than the Padres' newest backup catcher Kyle Higashioka is expected to make in arbitration this year. The remaining $680 million will be doled out over an as-yet undisclosed number of years, avoiding taxes and exploiting a loophole in the deferred payment system that no one had ever thought to look for.
If we want to talk about dangerous, potentially irresponsible contracts, we might revisit Ohtani's halfway through and it could've been a huge mistake. What if by the time his career is over he hasn't accomplished all that we expected him to and the Dodgers still owe him $680 million?
Dodgers fans dunking on Padres contracts should be in the past with this Ohtani signing. Even if the Padres as an entire team didn't get a shot at a postseason run, Machado and especially Bogaerts and Tatis still managed to have great individual seasons. There's no telling if age or injury will less their playing time down the line, but the said can be said about Ohtani.