The Los Angeles Angels have made some huge off-season moves that have backfired in a big way. In the 2011-12 offseason, they signed Albert Pujols to a ten-year $254 million dollar deal. Pujols had some nice years in Anaheim but wasn't close to the player he was in St. Louis and did not play all ten seasons in an Angels uniform.
The following offseason the Angels signed Josh Hamilton to a five-year $125 million dollar deal. That deal ended up being a disaster for the Halos and he was off the team after two subpar seasons. There's also the Anthony Rendon deal which is trending in the wrong direction as well.
One good move the Angels made was signing Shohei Ohtani out of Japan. All 30 teams were interested and somehow the Angels were the team to come out on top.
Signing Shohei Ohtani was the best Angels offseason move in the last decade.
Things could go very wrong with Ohtani this offseason, at the trade deadline, or following the 2023 campaign. The superstar signed a one-year $30 million dollar deal to avoid arbitration but has not signed a long extension and is hitting free agency after the season. The Angels could end up losing their best move in the last ten off-seasons for nothing.
Regardless, what Ohtani has done in an Angels uniform is special. Because Ohtani was only 23 when he signed, he was subject to international free agency rules. This meant he couldn't sign the massive contract he deserved, he instead was signed for the $2.315 million dollars the Angels had left in international bonus money.
Ohtani was under team control for six seasons with the Angels and was as good as anyone could've expected.
Right away, Ohtani showed the promise he had as a hitter. He slashed .286/.351/.532 with 40 home runs and 123 RBI in his first two seasons. While that was great, injuries limited Ohtani to just 12 starts in his first three seasons. He made 10 starts in his rookie season and looked great, posting a 3.31 ERA and striking out 11.9/9. He did not make a single start in 2019 and made only two starts in 2020.
The last two seasons are where Ohtani really showed why he was so coveted. He was the AL MVP in 2021 after hitting 46 home runs and posting a 3.18 ERA in 23 starts.
He then followed that up with another 34 home runs and a 2.33 ERA in 28 starts. Ohtani missed just 12 games combined in the last two seasons and only missed a handful of starts. After winning the MVP award last season he will probably be MVP runner up for his outstanding 2022 campaign.
Ohtani's future is uncertain but the Angels hit a grand slam with this signing. It was without a doubt the best offseason move the Angels have made in the last decade.