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Snake Bytes 12/12: The day MLB died

In one of the quickest turnarounds in Human History, Shohei Ohtani went from lovable unicorn to the Arbiter of Corruption

MLB: Los Angeles Angels at Arizona Diamondbacks Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

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[MLB] Explaining the unprecedented deferrals in Ohtani’s Dodgers deal by Mark Feinsand

The deferrals — which total $680 million — will begin in 2034 and carry through 2043, a source said. Starting in 2034, Ohtani will receive $68 million per year from the Dodgers, ending in 2043.

This was all agreed upon within the parameters of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, which states that there are no restrictions on how much money can be deferred.

Spencer’s Spicy Supplement: MLB turns to Feinsand to force the blatant corruption of the league down fans’ throats.

[MLBTR] Shohei Ohtani’s Contract Will Defer $68MM Per Year by Darragh McDonald

Both Jack Harris of the L.A. Times and Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register report that Ohtani explored these kinds of contract structures with every team he negotiated with, so this wasn’t just a Dodgers-exclusive thing. It seems that Ohtani wants to win and has agreed to structure his deal so that his chances of doing so are as high as possible. He’ll take home far less money now in order to make the team stronger during the course of his playing career.

Spencer’s Spicy Supplement: Ohtani supposedly used this form of contract in all negotiations, but only wanted to play for the Dodgers and gave them the final opportunity to surpass anyone else’s offer. One has to wonder how realistic a shot any other team was given by the player’s camp. As I recall, there were some team/agent shady actions a few winters ago regarding a certain Dodger First Baseman as well.

[MLBTR] Why Shohei Ohtani’s Contract Structure Is Not A Luxury Tax Dodge by Tim Dierkes

So, is this a problem? Does deferring 97.1% of a huge contract mean baseball is broken, and does it represent a major point of contention when the CBA expires after the 2026 season? Lindsey Adler of the Wall Street Journal wrote tonight, “According to league and union sources, MLB has proposed limiting deferrals in prior CBA negotiations, but the MLBPA has declined those limits because deferrals allow a player flexibility that allows a contract to be worth, let’s say, $700 million instead of $460 million.”

When this came up previously in CBA talks, it was probably more of a “nice to have” for MLB, but not something for which they’d actually make a concession to the MLBPA. The MLBPA won’t want to give this up, for the handful of players who actually want their payment deferred 20 years into the future. As you know, money is worth more now than it is in the future, so players have not exactly been clamoring to wait until retirement age to receive 97.1% of their contract. I’m sure deferred money will come up in the next CBA talks, and may even be eliminated, but one player doing it does not translate to a hot button issue or something where billions of dollars hang in the balance. They’ll find more consequential things to fight about.

Spencer’s Spicy Supplement: This article took me from “never watching MLB again” to “unlikely to pay for the privilege of watching MLB-centric games again.” While I personally don’t see any difference between what SD tried to do and what LAD/Ohtani have done (the intent is the same which is what the rule prohibits), this was something the players wanted. Which is obvious. They want to play in a league of 4 teams based in NYC and LA. All this really shows is when you have more money than you can possibly spend, accountants and lawyers will happily help you create new and inventive ways to convince us serfs that $700M is actually only $460M so the richest can keep their Squid Game bets higher.