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Shohei Ohtani’s Dodgers Contract Scrutinized As Possible Tax Loophole

Los Angeles Dodgers designated hitter and pitcher Shohei Ohtani’s signing would still be the story of MLB’s offseason if he had signed a conventional, normal contract.

However, Ohtani took things a step further. His deal with the Dodgers—deliberately structured in order to allow Los Angeles to keep spending—promises him $2 million annually in salary from 2024-33 and $68 million annually in deferred money from 2034-43.

The MLB world raised its collective eyebrows at the nature of the deal—and they weren’t the only sector of society to do that.

Malia Cohen—the controller for the state of California—urged Congress on Monday to close a loophole that could allow Ohtani to avoid paying $98 million in California taxes.

“The current tax system allows for unlimited deferrals for those fortunate enough to be in the highest tax brackets, creating a significant imbalance in the tax structure,” Cohen said. “The absence of reasonable caps on deferral for the wealthiest individuals exacerbates income inequality and hinders the fair distribution of taxes. I would urge Congress to take immediate and decisive action to rectify this imbalance.”

Ohtani—making $2 million, taxable at the moment in California—will make his Dodgers debut on March 20 against the San Diego Padres in Seoul.

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