Angels Take Shohei Ohtani Off Trade Market As Free Agency War Looms
The Los Angeles Angels announced Wednesday that they were taking two-way star Shohei Ohtani off the trade market ahead of the August 1 deadline. Los Angeles’ front office heard several offers for Ohtani but the team has changed course and will now prepare for a playoff push.
While the Angels did receive interest from several teams, it’s unclear if Ohtani was ever truly on the market, though it did make sense at certain points. Los Angeles went into the All-Star break, losing nine of their last ten games, undoing heaps of progress the team had made throughout June.
Postseason hopes were at an all-time low and getting something for Ohtani before he headed to free agency seemed like the team’s best course of action. Several reports earlier this year suggested that the team’s chances of re-signing him were slim if they didn’t reach the postseason anyway.
But since returning from the All-Star break, the Angels have bounced back, winning seven of ten games to get back into the hunt for the AL Wild Card. With a 52-49 record, they are just four games back. If Ohtani and fellow star Mike Trout can succeed in guiding the team to the postseason, it will be the franchise’s first playoff berth since 2014.
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Instead of sending Ohtani away, general manager Perry Minasian now reportedly wants to buy at the trade deadline. Sports Illustrated reported Wednesday that the team was looking for an additional starting pitcher and at least one arm to replenish the bullpen. On Thursday morning, the team acquired dependable righthanded starter Lucas Giolito from the Chicago White Sox.
Before the addition of Giolito, Ohtani was the only starter in Los Angeles’ rotation with an ERA under 4.00. The bullpen remains similarly vulnerable beyond closer Carlos Estevez.
For years, the Angels have been mocked by fans around the league for their inability to succeed despite fielding two generational talents. Following the 2023 season, one of those talents is almost sure to leave, as Ohtani could reportedly receive a contract worth more than $600 million from multiple teams. The clock is ticking faster than it ever has before, as this final stretch of games will likely be Los Angeles’ final opportunity to capitalize on his immense talent.
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