Shohei Ohtani, Dodgers break the internet with record-breaking contract: Best memes, tweets

Shohei Ohtani is signing with the Los Angeles Dodgers for... a lot of money.

Shohei Ohtani, Los Angeles Angels
Shohei Ohtani, Los Angeles Angels / Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Dodgers are signing Shohei Ohtani.

Rather than leak his destination to the press, Ohtani made the announcement on Instagram, thanking the Los Angeles Angels fanbase for six meaningful years and vowing to push the game forward as a member of the Dodgers.

Ohtani's contract will the Dodgers is for $700 million over 10 years, per ESPN's Jeff Passan. The contract includes significant deferrals, which will reduce the competitive tax burden on Los Angeles' front office and allow the Dodgers to build a better team around him.

The $700 million in guaranteed money on Ohtani's contract is the largest in major American sports history, surpassing Lionel Messi's $555 million deal with Inter Miami.

Ohtani will join a lineup that includes the second and third-place finishers in 2023 National League MVP voting, Mookie Betts and Freddie Freeman. He won't be able to pitch until 2025, but Ohtani should eventually return to the two-way stardom that defined his tenure in Anaheim.

Naturally, the social media reactions were plentiful.

Social media reacts to Dodgers' 10-year, $700 million Shohei Ohtani contract

The Dodgers will benefit from Ohtani on and off the field. He is a true global superstar, and will bring a whole new international revenue stream to Los Angeles. In 135 games last season, Ohtani slashed .304/.412/.654 with 44 home runs and 95 RBIs in 497 ABs. He went 10-5 in 23 starts on the mound, posting a 3.14 ERA and 1.061 WHIP with 167 strikeouts in 132.0 innings pitched.

At the peak of his powers, Ohtani is legitimately one of the best hitters and best pitchers in baseball. There is valid concern about his long-term future on the mound after a second Tommy John surgery, but Ohtani was the unanimous American League MVP last season, leading the AL in home runs, slugging percentage, and on-base percentage.

Los Angeles won 100 games in 2023 before losing to the Arizona Diamondbacks in the NLDS. Ohtani spent six years with the Angels and never played a postseason game. The Dodgers are well positioned to rectify that trend, while Ohtani could help L.A. get over the hump once the playoffs roll around.

Ohtani also gets to stay in Los Angeles, on the west coast where he's most comfortable. The Toronto Blue Jays appear to finish second in the race, but there's no runner-up prize here. The rest of the MLB is probably looking at the Dodgers' lineup with a pervasive sense of dread right about now.

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