On Monday, an astonishing story came out that Ohtani will defer $68 million dollars of his annual $70 million dollar contract. This is unprecidented in the game of baseball, we have never seen anything like this. This is a huge advantage for the Dodgers that will allow them to stay under the Competitive Balance Tax and spend more money on the roster without severe tax implications.
This is a pretty confusing situation on a contract because, again, we have never seen this before. From my understanding and the way Jon Becker of Fangraphs explains it, even though Ohtani's AAV is $70 million, and his annual salary will only be $2 million with the deferment, they still add a portion of the deferred money to the current salary for the Competitive Balance Tax hit. I would highly recommend reading some of his stuff to get a better understanding of this very unique contract.
Could the Mariners use this same structure to sign hometown pitcher Blake Snell?
With the reports of budget issues, the Mariners will need to get very creative this offseason. So how about structuring a contract for Blake Snell in a way we haven't seen until now? They wouldn't be able to get his tax hit down into the single digits most likely, but they could very well get it down to the $12 to $15M range, which might be doable for them. Ultimately, I don't think the Mariners would structure a contract that way, as all of that money comes due at some point and I just don't see John Stanton being the type to kick money down the road like that, knowing there will be some pretty big CBT numbers coming up later.
As I said earlier, this is completely unprecedented in this sport, but it makes me wonder if we could see players do it more often? They won't be getting the same annual salary that you expect when you see a contract like that, but if someone knows that they have enough off the field money coming in, it might be something that isn't a bad idea. It doesn't seem fair, as a team like the Dodgers just gets even more money to play around with and build a super team.