The future of Los Angeles Angels superstar Shohei Ohtani relies on how the MLB team’s play-off push goes, according to general manager Perry Minasian.
The Japanese player will be a free agent once the 2023 season is through, putting his team in a difficult position as they seek to maximise their hugely valuable player but also not affect their on-field performance.
The Angels are having a mixed season in the American League West. Currently placed third of five in the division, their best hopes of making it through to the post-season looks to be as a Wild Card, but they need to build up some consistency to ensure that happens.
No team wants to lose its star player, but if the Angels hold on to him through to the end of the season, they’d be at risk of him leaving anyway and only getting a Draft pick compensation in return.
Speaking of the situation, Minasian told the press: “I think anybody who has watched us play or looked where we’re at in the standings, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, we like him and we hope he’s here a long time. It’s pretty self-explanatory with where we’re at.”
Who might come in for Ohtani?
Ohtani has been the undoubted star of the Angels’ 2023 season, having already made a name for himself in previous years. He was named the American League’s Most Valuable Player (MVP) in 2021 and was runner-up last year, missing out on first place to Aaron Judge.
His incredible form this season means he’s certain to be in contention again – and a very likely winner – and he’s showing no signs of letting up. He ended up on the wrong end of a 2-0 defeat when the Angels played rivals the LA Dodgers this week, but his individual performance was incredible as he struck out 12 and gave away just one run across his seven innings.
This makes him the first Angels pitcher to ever clock up 12 strikeouts against their near rivals. Garrett Richards was the previous record-holder with 11 in 2015.
Before the match, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts was full of praise for the player, with rumours linking Ohtani with a move across the city. “I don’t think there’s a manager that wouldn’t love Shohei,” Roberts said, “but right now, he’s an Angel, so I want to get hits off him and I want to get him out four times tonight.”
Ohtani apparently prefers to play in warmer weather and the short trip from Angel Stadium to Dodger Stadium would mean he could continue to do that and there’d be little disruption to his current life.
When asked whether he’d be interested in a move, Ohtani was tight-lipped and diplomatic. “I want to concentrate on the season. I’m leaving it up to my agent, and me personally, I want to concentrate on the season.”
The 28-year-old joined the Angels from the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters in 2017. He was named Rookie of the Year after an impressive debut season in 2018 and this year was named MVP in the World Baseball Classic as his native Japan claimed their third title by beating the United States.
Written and distributed by Chat T Sports.