The Angels and two-way player Shohei Ohtani avoided arbitration on Monday after agreeing on a two-year, $8.5 million deal.
The 26-year old is locked in for the next two seasons and will enter the final year of arbitration eligibility following the 2023 season.
Ohtani had a set-back both at-the plate and on the mound last season. As a hitter, Ohtani posted a .190/.291/.366 slash line to go along with seven home runs and 24 RBI in 44 games.
On the mound, Ohtani lasted just 1.2 innings in two starts while allowing seven runs and walking eight batters. The two-way star also suffered a grade 1-2 forearm strain, which forced the Halos to shut down Ohtani as a pitcher.
A two-year deal for a two-way player. Shohei Ohtani and the Angels have reached an agreement, avoiding arbitration through the 2022 season.
Ohtani completes the list of six signed Halos arbitration-eligible players for 2021. Angels general manager Perry Minasian explained the difficulty of the two sides settling on an appropriate salary figure due to Ohtani’s abilities as a hitter and pitcher.
"“It was very difficult,” Minasian said. “But I think that’s where relationships come into play and communication comes into play, having an understanding of what the other side is looking at, and for ourselves, just kind of working together, both sides, coming to an agreement. It’s a different type of player. There’s not a lot of people that can do what this guy can do on a baseball field. For us to be able to come to a two-year agreement made a lot of sense.”"
In 2018, Ohtani lived up to the hype as a two-way star en route to winning AL Rookie of the Year. Tommy John surgery forced Ohtani to be a designated hitter in 2019, but it doesn’t appear the Angels have given up on utilizing him in more ways than one.
It’s unclear just how much Ohtani will be used in the starting rotation this season. The Angels have added Jose Quintana and Alex Cobb to a group that includes Dylan Bundy, Andrew Heaney, and Griffin Canning. Other pitchers that figure to add their names to the mix of potential starters are Patrick Sandoval and Jaime Barria.
Manager Joe Maddon has floated the idea of a potential six-man rotation, but nothing has been confirmed. Minasian believes Ohtani will impact the team on both sides of the ball this season.
"“He’s feeling great, he’s ready to go,” Minasian said. “Mentally, physically, he’s definitely put in the work. And that’s what’s pretty impressive is just the amount of time and energy that this guy puts into his craft. When you combine that with the talent, I think we feel like he’s going to be a huge part of this club and help us win games in multiple ways. We believe he’s a difference-maker-type player.”"
The agreement currently leaves the Angels with ~$18 million before hitting the luxury tax penalty for the 2021 payroll.
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Whether or not the Halos will spend their remaining balance on a starter or reliever remains to be seen. There’s a little more than a week before pitchers and catchers report to spring training, but there are still some quality options on the market.