The Los Angeles Angels dealt a couple of key pieces away at the trade deadline, but couldn’t pull the trigger on sending out their largest trade chip.
Now, one prominent Major League Baseball writer believes the Angels will be kicking themselves for not trading two-way sensation Shohei Ohtani.
The New York Post’s Jon Heyman saw this as an opportunity for the Angels to restock their farm system. Heyman reported most of the teams that checked in on the reigning American League MVP were willing to give up a haul of prospects — like the San Diego Padres did to acquire star Juan Soto — to obtain Ohtani for 1 1/2 seasons before he is due to hit free agency.
Heyman noted that Angels owner Arte Moreno halted traded talks even though the Yankees among other teams were willing to give up any number of prospects to land the phenomenal talent.
What may have helped expedite the trade process is if Ohtani demanded a trade, but the 28-year-old did no such thing, according to Heyman.
“Had Ohtani said he wanted out, that may have given Moreno the opening to truly consider trading arguably baseball’s best player,” Heyman wrote. “Ohtani is thought to like the Angels, who’ve allowed him to do his unique thing. However, Ohtani surely seeks to finally be paid fairly after four-plus years of mostly charity work (his $5M salary is MLB average), and there’s little belief the Angels will go there.”
With free agency on the not-so-distant horizon, Ohtani reportedly is expecting to cash in big in 2024. Heyman said it’s not out of the realm of possibility for Ohtani to look for a contract that will pay him $50 million per year, or perhaps even more.
That appears to be way too rich for the Angels, who haven’t put together a winning season since Ohtani joined the club in 2018.
While it would have been extremely difficult for the Angels to trade a player of Ohtani’s caliber, it might be even tougher to see him walk away with nothing in return.