The Los Angeles Angels haven’t ruled out trading two-way star Shohei Ohtani before the Aug. 1 deadline, according to MLB Network’s Jon Morosi.
“The team’s performance over the upcoming homestand will be a big consideration in the Angels’ ultimate course,” Morosi reported. “At this point, many in the industry still view a trade as unlikely.”
Many fans are aware of Ohtani’s contractual situation and the dilemma it presents for the Angels. He’s due to be a free agent in the offseason and will potentially command the biggest deal in MLB history.
In May, ESPN’s Kiley McDaniel spoke with a group of 26 MLB executives, agents and insiders to gauge the 2021 American League MVP’s market. Twenty of them expected him to get $500 million-plus, and the highest amount was $605 million over 11 years.
The Angels handed out what is still the richest contract ever, re-signing Mike Trout for 12 years and $426.5 million. But you can understand any hesitancy to turn around and do the same with Ohtani given what’s likely to be the sums involved.
If Los Angeles has any reservations in that regard, then trading the 29-year-old has to be a serious consideration. Even though he’d be a half-season rental, the return from the transaction figures to be massive.
But the Angels would take a big public relations hit by jettisoning Ohtani and effectively signaling they don’t intend to pursue a reunion in the offseason.
L.A. is only five games out of the final wild-card place in the American League as well. The team doesn’t have great odds of reaching the postseason but fans will take whatever they can get after watching an eight-year playoff drought unfold.
That’s why the next few weeks might be pivotal in shaping Ohtani’s future. If the Angels lose further ground on the Toronto Blue Jays and Houston Astros, then the front office might feel there’s little recourse but to trade him and look to 2024 and beyond.