Shohei Ohtani’s free agency was the talk of baseball over the past year because the two-way star possesses talents not seen in decades.
Ohtani announced Dec. 9 he would join the Los Angeles Dodgers after spending the first six years of his career with the Los Angeles Angels, a team in Orange County.
Ohtani signed a 10-year, $700 million contract with the Dodgers, a deal that was offered to him by other teams.
The San Francisco Giants offered Ohtani a similar deal, but the Japanese star chose to remain in Southern California.
According to Giants legend Buster Posey, the state of San Francisco at least played a role in Ohtani’s free agency decision.
While Posey told The Athletic Ohtani never expressed any concerns about the city, “there was some reservation with the state of the city right now” within Ohtani’s camp.
“Something I think is noteworthy, something that unfortunately keeps popping up from players and even the players’ wives is there’s a bit of an uneasiness with the city itself, as far as the state of the city, with crime, with drugs,” Posey told The Athletic in a phone interview.
“Whether that’s all completely fair or not, perception is reality. It’s a frustrating cycle, I think, and not just with baseball. Baseball is secondary to life and the important things in life. But as far as a free-agent pursuit goes, I have seen that it does affect things.”
Former professional wrestler and Fox News contributor Tyrus jumped on Outkick’s “Don’t @ Me with Dan Dakich” and was asked about free agents potentially avoiding San Francisco due to the state of the city.
“It’s not even just San Francisco. I mean, look what’s happening in Washington D.C.,” Tyrus said.
“First of all, just driving to work is a battle,” he said of San Francisco. “The homeless crisis is unbelievable there. If you haven’t been to San Francisco or anywhere near those areas right now, it is literally a walking minefield of human feces. That is not an over-exaggeration.
“The criminal element. … You go to a Walgreens, a tube of toothpaste, you have to get a coupon for it, scan it, and they’ll mail it to your home. A successful professional sports athlete driving a newer car into the stadium every week, you’re gonna have all kinds of issues. Fans aren’t coming to the games anymore because they don’t feel safe.”
Ohtani chose Los Angeles, a city with its own issues, but issues that Tyrus says are different from San Francisco’s.
“The thing about LA, Los Angeles is so vast that you can get away from a lot of stuff pretty easy,” Tyrus said. “And when you’re going to Dodger Stadium, it’s more protected. The homeless tend to be more in the downtown area and more toward the beach side of things.
“LeBron James came to the Lakers for a reason. The lucrative opportunities in LA for someone like him are unbelievable,” Tyrus added, pointing to the opportunities in Hollywood and LA for celebrities.
Ohtani’s choice to join the Dodgers was not the only part of his decision that made headlines.
The details of Ohtani’s massive contract have also caused a stir.
Ohtani agreed to defer all but $2 million annually until his contract ends, The Athletic reported. The deferred money — $68 million annually — will reportedly be paid without interest from 2034 to 2043.
“I was looking into it, doing some calculations, and I figured if I can defer as much money as I can, that’s gonna help the (collective bargaining tax). That’s gonna help the Dodgers and be able to sign better players and make a better team,” Ohtani said Thursday. “I felt like that was worth it, and I was willing to go in that direction. That’s why I made that choice.”
The unprecedented deferral of money will lower the amount his contract counts toward the Dodgers’ luxury tax payroll, The Associated Press reported over the weekend.
Fox News’ Ryan Morik contributed to this report