Angels really blew it with Shohei Ohtani after insider reveals free agency twist

San Diego Padres v Los Angeles Dodgers
San Diego Padres v Los Angeles Dodgers / Masterpress/GettyImages

Every fan of every team has had to deal with the heartbreak of losing a beloved star at some point in their fandom, but perhaps no fanbase has it harder than that of the Los Angeles Angels after losing Shohei Ohtani this offseason. Angels fans knew what they had in Ohtani from the very beginning, but a key disconnect occurs when ownership doesn't seem to share the same opinion.

Ohtani clearly saw something in the Angels when he chose them in his international free agency way back in 2017, selecting Arte Moreno's bunch over the Dodgers, Red Sox, Rangers, and Yankees. A big part of it could've been their willingness to let him hit and pitch, but he also must've believed in the team as real championship contenders.

One would think, then, that Angels management and ownership would do anything humanly possible to keep Ohtani in Anaheim, but Moreno had different ideas.

Per Bob Nightengale of USA Today, the Angels thought that they could've kept Ohtani if they'd offered him the same contract he eventually accepted from the Dodgers, deferrals and all, but Moreno had no interest in engaging with the deferrals, so Ohtani moved across town.

Arte Moreno wasn't having any deferral conversations that could've kept Shohei Ohtani with the LA Angels

Too confusing! Pass!

Moreno is already an unpopular figure not just for Angels fans but in baseball at large, and this just further sinks the possibility of him being a likable owner by any stretch of the imagination. The Angels are not a small-market team — they clearly have money that they're willing to use. Anthony Rendon and Mike Trout's salaries make up almost 60% of the Angels' payroll, and only one of them is deserving of it. Ohtani clearly is and has been deserving of the money he'll make over the next 20 years.

Accepting the deferral plan would've allowed the Angels to do exactly what the Dodgers have done since he signed — finally build around him. The Angels have failed to do so for seven years, but it was never too late to start, especially if he had committed to another 10 years with the team. The fact that the Angels could've had a clear path to making Ohtani a lifelong Angel, but didn't, is incredibly hard to accept.