Sho Me The Money

December 11, 2023

By: Carlos Alvarez

Welcome Back 

The weekend behind us was a sportswriter’s dream. From the biggest sports contract ever seen to three trophy presentations (Heisman, NBA, MLS) and Week 14 of the NFL, we’ve got it all. Hold on tight.

Editor’s Note: Today’s edition is longer than our typical send in order to include all the weekend action. Please excuse any errors (it was a long night).

Letter Rip!


Sho Me The Money

Photo: Ronald Martinez / Getty Images

Shohei Ohtani Signs World\’s Largest Sports Contract With Los Angeles Dodgers: 10-Years, $700 Million

$700 Million… The largest contract in sports history is here. That once belonged to Lionel Messi. Then Cristiano Ronaldo. Then Kylian Mbappe. Enter Shohei Ohtani’s free agency frenzy. The two-way superstar signed a 10-year, $700 million deal on Saturday and sent the entire (sports) world into chaos. Let\’s recap what happened.

Friday: Rumor Mill Gone Crazy

After a long week of MLB Winter Meetings, every baseball writer on Earth was in a constant “refresh feed” frenzy as the rumors swirled. Reports of Ohtani signing with the Toronto Blue Jays picked up steam. Some rumors claimed he was spotted on a flight to Toronto. Blue Jays bloggers were confirming the news. Rapper Drake (the Toronto-native) was seen in a Blue Jays No. 17 Ohtani jersey. Suspicion grew. Was the plane diverting to Chicago (Cubs)? Could he even return to the Angels? Was it going to be the Giants after all? Social media was ablaze with conspiracy theories. On Saturday, a simple Instagram post from Ohtani himself brought all the answers.

Saturday: Ohtani’s Announcement

“To all the fans and everyone involved in the baseball world, I apologize for taking so long to come to a decision. I have decided to choose the Dodgers as my next team.” In typical Ohtani form, he wasn\’t about the flare and pageantry. No over-the-top, \”take my talents to ____ (blank)\” press conference. Just a grainy, low-resolution Dodgers logo posted to his Instagram account. I love it. Ohtani went on to thank the Angels organization for the past six years and pledge his dedication to the Dodgers for the rest of his playing career. He\’ll be 39 when his contract ends in 2033.

Ohtani’s Hall of Fame Trajectory

If you’re reading The Sportsletter, you\’re probably a sports fan who needs little introduction to Ohtani’s rising star. The 6-foot-4, 210-pound two-way icon is already a candidate for the “best baseball player ever” depending on who you ask. He’s won two unanimous MVPs (never been done before) with an Angels franchise that hasn’t made the playoffs in his six-year tenure. And that desire to be on a playoff team is likely what pulled him to the Dodgers. The move allows the Japanese superhero to stay in L.A. and join a competitive roster that becomes instant World Series favorites. Start adding some rings and playoff moments to Ohtani’s resume, and he’s on the fast-track for Cooperstown.

Ohtani’s Career Stats (6 Seasons)

Batting: .274 Avg. | 171 HRs | 437 RBIs | 86 SBs | .922 OPS

Pitching: 38-19 Record | 3.01 ERA | 608 Ks

*2-Time Unanimous MVP (2021 & 2023)

*3-Time All-Star (2021-2023)

Sho Me the Money 

Now, to the deal. The contract that made Earth stop turning is still hard to fathom. A whopping 10 years and $700 million equates to $70 million per year — an annual salary that’s never been seen before in American sports, and an overall figure that’s higher than any player in any team sport in the history of the world. Here’s a look at the top-5 largest overall contracts in sports history, and the top-5 baseball contracts ever signed.

Top-5 Sports Contracts of All-Time

1. Shohei Ohtani (Dodgers): $700 Million

2. Kylian Mbappe (PSG): $679 Million

3. Lionel Messi (Barcelona): $674 Million

4. Cristiano Ronaldo (Al Nassr): $500 Million

5. Patrick Mahomes (Chiefs): $450 Million

Top-5 MLB Contracts of All-Time

1. Shohei Ohtani (Dodgers): $700 Million

2. Mike Trout (Angels): $426.5 Million

3. Mookie Betts (Dodgers): $365 Million

4. Aaron Judge (Yankees): $360 Million

5. Manny Machado (Padres): $350 Million

The Ohtani sweepstakes are finally over, and the Dodgers are the biggest winners of the MLB offseason (and the decade ahead). Shohei Ohtani in Dodger Blue? Can\’t wait.

Read More

The Athletic: The Dodgers Got Shohei Ohtani. What’s Next?

FOX Sports: Shohei Ohtani’s World About to Change On & Off the Field With Dodgers

The Ringer: Shohei Ohtani’s $700 Million Dodgers Contract is Unlike Anything in MLB History

USA Today: Why Shohei Ohtani Will be Worth Every Penny of $700 Million Contract for Dodgers



Daniels Takes the Heisman

Photo: Icon Sportswire / Getty Images

LSU QB Jayden Daniels Wins Heisman Trophy in Closest Race Since 2018

The 2023 Heisman Trophy was awarded to LSU QB Jayden Daniels Saturday night in New York. Daniels, who began his college career at Arizona State, became the second straight transfer quarterback to win the award. He’s also the fifth transfer to win the Heisman in the last seven seasons. Daniels led the Tigers to a 9-3 record while packaging one of the most decorated stat lines in college football history — 4,946 yards and 50 total touchdowns. He also led the nation in yards per game (412.2), an average of 70+ yards more than the next player.

\”Thank you. This is a dream come true. I want to first give thanks to God, for all the glory… He blessed me with the talents and ability to get here. To Bo [Nix], Mike [Penix Jr.], Marvin [Harrison Jr.], you guys are amazing. I enjoy watching you all but the competition is never over. I look forward to seeing you guys on Sundays.” — Jayden Daniels Heisman Speech (Video)

2023 Heisman Voting

1. QB Jayden Daniels (LSU): 2,029 points

2. QB Michael Penix Jr. (WASH): 1,709 points

3. QB Bo Nix (ORE): 885 points

4. WR Marvin Harrison Jr. (OSU): 352 points

Daniels garnered 503 1st-place votes out of the 927 total. Penix Jr. received 292 1st-place votes. It was actually the closest the Heisman vote has been since 2018.

Read More

B/R: NFL Exec: LSU’s Jayden Daniels a ‘Bona Fide 1st-Round Pick’ After Heisman Trophy Win

Sporting News: Dynamic Season, Eye-Popping Stats Propel LSU’s Jayden Daniels to College Football’s Top Award



Refs, Ravens & Week 14 Ramifications

Photo: Icon Sportswire / Getty Images

Bills Beat Chiefs in Controversial Finish, Ravens Stun Rams With Walk-Off OT Winner & Cowboys Stomp Eagles in NFC East Clash

Week 14 of the NFL was another one of those “spinning\” Sundays in the standings, and your guess is as good as mine. The Bears beat the Lions (what?). The Browns are alive with Joe Flacco (311 yards, 3 TDs). The Bengals rolled the Colts with Jake Browning at the helm (275 yards, 2 TDs). And the Jets blasted the Texans behind the unstoppable Zach Wilson (301 yards, 2 TDs). Oh, and the Vikings and Raiders combined for three points (3-0, Vikings). Yikes. Good luck to anyone who had high hopes in this week\’s pick \’em contest. There were also four games that had huge playoff implications. We’ve got those four highlighted in today’s shortened NFL section (more Week 14 coverage to follow on Tuesday/Wednesday).

The 4 Big Games

Other Week 14 Scores & Highlights

Patriots def. Steelers (21-18)

Buccaneers def. Falcons (29-25)

Bears def. Lions (28-13)

Bengals def. Colts (34-14)

Browns def. Jaguars (31-27)

Saints def. Panthers (28-6)

Jets def. Texans (30-6)

Vikings def Raiders (3-0)

Broncos def. Chargers (24-7)

Monday Night Football

Titans at Dolphins (8:15 pm ET, ESPN)

Packers at Giants (8:15 pm ET, ABC)

Read More

SI: A Heated Patrick Mahomes Had to be Held Back From Refs at End of Chiefs’ Loss to Bills

B/R: Eagles Must Fix Defense After Losses to Cowboys, 49ers or Forget Super Bowl Run

Yahoo! Sports: Ravens Ride Lamar Jackson Heroics, Walk-Off Punt Return to Keep AFC’s No. 1 Seed



Lakers Lock Down 1st NBA Cup

Photo: Anadolu / Getty Images

Anthony Davis (41 Points, 20 Rebounds) Leads Lakers Past Pacers (123-109) to 1st NBA Cup Title

The first-ever NBA In-Season Tournament came to a close on Saturday night in Las Vegas with the Lakers topping the Pacers (123-109) in an awesome display of early-season ball. I think it\’s safe to say the NBA Cup has been a success. The Lakers kept blasting Indiana with big runs, but the Pacers kept battling back to keep it close. It was just a three-point game with five minutes to go before LeBron James and Anthony Davis dropped the hammer. Davis was the star of the final, logging 41 points, 20 boards, and four blocks as he and LeBron played bully-ball. However, James won the NBA Cup MVP due to past performances throughout the tournament — and because he’s LeBron. The rising star of Pacers\’ point guard Tyrese Haliburton was put to the test, and the Lakers locked him up early and made life difficult. It was just the third time this season Indiana\’s high-octane offense was held below 110 points.

NBA Cup Final Stats

A. Davis (LAL): 41 pts, 20 rebs, 5 asts, 4 blks

L. James (LAL): 24 pts, 11 rebs, 4 asts, 2 stls

T. Haliburton (IND): 20 pts, 11 asts

Watch: Anthony Davis, Lakers Bully Pacers in NBA Cup Final (123-109)

NBA Cup Payouts: The Lakers players and coaches received $500,000 apiece for winning the inaugural In-Season Tournament. The Pacers take home $200K each, while teams who made the knockout rounds will receive $100K and $50K based on placement. Quite the haul for an early-year test run of the first-ever NBA IST.

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver took a shot and tried something new. At first glance, it appears to have been a huge success.

Read More

SI: NBA In-Season Tournament 2023: 5 MVPs Not Named LeBron James

Yahoo! Sports: Lakers Muscle Through Pacers to Win Inaugural NBA In-Season Tournament



Crew Crowned MLS Cup Champs

Photo: Maddie Meyer / Getty Images

Columbus Crew Take Down LAFC (2-1) to Win 3rd MLS Cup Title

More trophy ceremonies! The 2023 MLS Cup Playoffs came down to a blistering battle between two teams with recent championship history. LAFC (2022) and the Columbus Crew (2020) made up two of the last three Cup Champions, and they met on a rain-soaked Saturday in Columbus for the big one. The Crew earned a handball in the box in the 30th minute to set up a strike from the spot by Cucho Hernandez. Minutes later, a sensational assist from Malte Amundsen teed up Yaw Yeboah’s insurance strike (2-0). LAFC woke up in the second half and Denis Bouanga found a goal to make it 2-1, but that was it for the defending champs. LAFC kept searching throughout stoppage time, but the final whistle brought elation to the home fans in Columbus. The Crew are champions once again!

Cup Triple: With their third MLS Cup, Columbus Crew are now third all-time in MLS championships. Only LA Galaxy (5) and D.C. United (4) has more titles.

Watch: Columbus Crew Beat LAFC (2-1) to Win MLS Cup

Read More

MLS: Columbus Crew Live Their MLS Cup Dream: “Impossible is an Opinion”

The Athletic: In Winning MLS Cup, the Columbus Crew Were Nothing But Themselves



 College Football

Army def. Navy (17-11)

*Army Makes 4th-Down, Goal-Line Stop to Win

 NCAA Basketball

M: #1 Arizona def. Wisconsin (98-73)

M: #2 Kansas def. Missouri (73-64)

M: #4 Purdue def. Alabama (92-86)

W: #1 South Carolina def. #11 Utah (78-69)

W: #2 UCLA def. #20 Florida State (95-78)
#4 Iowa def. Wisconsin (87-65)

 NCAA Volleyball Regionals

#1 Pittsburgh def. #2 Louisville (3-2)

#1 Nebraska def. #3 Arkansas (3-1)

#1 Wisconsin def. #2 Oregon (3-1)

#2 Texas def. #1 Stanford (3-1)

*Semifinals: Thursday (Dec. 14)





Today\’s Must-Watch List

 Monday Night Football

Titans at Dolphins (8:15 pm ET, ESPN)

Packers at Giants (8:15 pm ET, ABC)


Raptors at Knicks (7:30 pm ET)

Timberwolves at Pelicans (8:00 pm ET)

Nets at Kings (10:00 pm ET)


Maple Leafs at Islanders (7:00 pm ET)

Red Wings at Stars (8:00 pm ET)

Flames at Avalanche (9:30 pm ET)

 NCAA Men’s Soccer Championship

#2 Notre Dame vs. #9 Clemson (6:00 pm ET)

Download The Sportsletter\’s Must-Watch Calendar