The LA Angels were not apart of the Shohei Ohtani sweepstakes until they traded for international free agent money via the Braves. Now, they can offer the eighth most money among MLB teams. This is how the Angels can convince Ohtani to take his talents to Anaheim.
There are obvious pros to playing for the LA Angels. Southern California is and has always been an ideal destination for free agents in every sport. The beach are world famous. The weather waivers between warm and perfect throughout the entire MLB season.
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There are a few more personal reasons for Ohtani to be interested in Anaheim. There is a huge Japanese-American population in Southern California, along with long time connections with California and Japanese immigrants. The flight from Anaheim to Japan is the shortest in the MLB, making the difference in a flight from LA shorter than any other city.
Obviously the Dodgers have the same fact to boast. However, pitching in Anaheim will bring enough national attention to Ohtani. He would not have to live as a celebrity like he would if he played for the Dodgers and lived in Los Angeles.
The Angels also have the opportunity for Ohtani to be the designated hitter, which the Dodgers do not. Ohtani has been very adamant in his desires to be given a chance to hit and pitch. The Halos can give him this opportunity. However, a National League team might have worries playing him in the outfield or at first base.
The Angels can also point out the players that Ohtani would be playing around. He could play and work with Albert Pujols, who is the best right-handed hitter of this generation and arguably of all time. Though they hit from opposite sides of the plate, Pujols can give knowledge to Ohtani that he may not be able to obtain anywhere else.
Pujols is also attempting to lose weight to play more games at first in 2018. This would open up the DH spot for Ohtani.
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There is also, of course, Mike Trout. If Ohtani has desires to be the best in the game, then he may as well play with the current king of baseball. Trout is the game’s best hitter and has been for years. Between Trout and Pujols, Ohtani can rake his talents as a hitter to the next level should he decide to play in LA.
There is also the elite defense he would have around him. Andrelton Simmons is the best shortstop on the field. Trout, Justin Upton, and Kole Calhoun form the best defensive outfield in the league. Martin Maldonado is coming off his first Gold Glove, and made several mediocre pitchers look solid in 2017.
Finally, the Angels can tell Ohtani how the team needs him. The Angels’ rotation looks a lot better with Ohtani as their ace and Garrett Richards as their #2. Ohtani would be the guy in Anaheim, something that the Dodgers and Mariners cannot claim with Kershaw and Felix Hernandez, respectively.
Ohtani would also give them a premier left-handed bat to slot between Mike Trout and Justin Upton. Between two hitters of their efficiency, Ohtani would rack up the RBI’s while also scoring consistently.
The LA Angels are in the race for Ohtani. General manager Billy Eppler has yet to haul in a big free agent, and has made it clear he is going after Ohtani. The blueprint to bring him to LA is in place, now it is up to Eppler to reel him in.