Shohei Ohtani is posting incredible numbers in more than just ERA, OPS and WAR.
Everyone is eager to see what kind of record-setting new contract Ohtani signs in the next few months, with some estimates ranging as high as $600 million for his next deal.
Yet whether Ohtani signs an extension with the Los Angeles Angels or gets his money in free agency, it turns out he’s already the highest-paid player in baseball, according to Forbes.com.
Forbes estimates Ohtani will earn $65 million during the 2023 season. That includes his $30 million salary from the Angels, along with at least $35 million in annual endorsements.
To put that figure in perspective, Forbes lists New York Yankees slugger Aaron Judge as second on the endorsement list with $4.5 million in annual off-field earnings.
According to Forbes, next on the overall earnings list for 2023 is veteran pitcher Max Scherzer at $59.3 million, thanks almost exclusively to his offseason free agent deal with the New York Mets. His endorsements only total about $1 million annually. Judge ($44.5 million) is third on the list, followed by Mets star Justin Verlander ($44.3 million) and Ohtani’s teammate Mike Trout ($39.5 million).
Anthony Rendon, Carlos Correa, Gerrit Cole, Corey Seager and Nolan Arenado round out the top 10.
Forbes notes that Ohtani’s 13 endorsement partnerships include pharmaceuticals company Kowa, Seiko Watch, Boss (formerly Hugo Boss), Fanatics, Topps and New Balance.
What makes Ohtani such a hot property? Chris Davis, chief marketing officer with New Balance, told Forbes he’s more than just a baseball player, especially in his home country.
“Shohei’s commercial impact annually for the Japanese market will be to the tune of tens of millions of dollars, because he is a cultural icon in Japan first and a baseball player second,” Davis said. “He’ll probably be the first and only baseball player of this generation that has the ability to have that level of commercial impact for a brand.”