Gambling Scandal: Shohei Ohtani’s Former Manager Believes Star a Point

Written by:
Jagajeet Chiba
Published on:

  • Ohtani's now former interpreter Ippei Mizuhara is accused of "massive theft" from the star player to cover his illegal gambling debts.

  • Former manager questions how agency charged with overseeing Ohtani account would not have noticed $4.5 million missing.

  • That $4.5 million is more than what Ohtani will be paid per year per his new contract terms.


Shohei Ohtani's former manager Joe Maddon this week offered his opinion on the recent gambling scandal that has embroiled the Japanese superstar MLB player.

You can be forgiven more perhaps missing this story as folks embarked on their spring breaks.  Here's what has transpired over the past two weeks:

Ohtani's now former interpreter Ippei Mizuhara is accused of "massive theft" from the star player to cover his illegal gambling debts.

Mizuhara was quickly fired and the shock likely would have worn off in a matter of days had $4.5 million not been wired directly from Ohtani’s bank account to a known bookie out of California, Mathew Bowyer. 

And the questions still remained: How did Mizuhara gain access to Ohtani's bank account and was the MLB star himself placing bets.

Ohtani has denied doing so and was adamant he has never placed bets on MLB games while a player.  He and his representatives also cleared up - or at least attempted to do so - earlier conflicting reports that Ohtani had voluntarily paid off Mizuhara's debts.

Madden believes Ohtani to an extent.

“When I read all this, heard all this, I just did not want to believe any of it,” Maddon told Jayson Stark and Doug Glanville on the latest edition of the Starkville podcast. “The fact that Ippei would be disloyal to Shohei was, like, really a thought that I could not even fathom and never even imagined. … And I was upset. I was viscerally upset about the whole thing.”

Madden spoke on the bank access issue.

"So it was 'easily' conceivable to him, Maddon said, “that Shohei would rely on Ippei to handle, like, daily bill paying. … So that, to me, is not a reach by any means. The part that I don’t quite understand is the fact that, especially when you talk about those ($4.5 million) numbers, if they are accurate, that the agency would not have known about that.”

In other words, that figure should have sounded the alarms almost immediately.  The agency would almost certainly have noticed $4.5 million missing from the bank account even if Ohtani's 10-year contract with the LA Dodgers is worth $700 million.  In fact, Ohtani will actually make less than half the $4.5 million amount per year as the unique contract stipulates $2 million be paid each of the next 10 years. The other $680 million is scheduled to be paid out in $68 million installments on July 1 every year from 2034-43.

- Jagajeet Chiba,

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