Could Angels get swept up in Shohei Ohtani-Dodgers controversy?

This won't rub off on the Angels, right?

Los Angeles Dodgers designated hitter Shohei Ohtani Ippei Mizuhara
Los Angeles Dodgers designated hitter Shohei Ohtani Ippei Mizuhara / Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

By now everyone's probably heard of the potential scandal going on involving former Los Angeles Angels superstar Shohei Ohtani and his longtime friend Ippei Mizuhara.

Mizuhara was fired earlier this week after allegations of massive theft were levied against him. The allegations stem from an illegal bookmaking operation that is under federal investigation, and involve $4.5 million in wire transfers that are tied to Ohtani's bank account. A spokesperson for Ohtani initially told ESPN that Ohtani was covering gambling debts incurred by Mizuhara. Those comments were later recanted and Ohtani's lawyers are now involved.

The entire situation reeks of something foul, but Major League Baseball has been rather mum on the entire situation. Obviously, any ties to illegal gambling can come with a heavy penalty, and all eyes are now on Ohtani and his new team, the Los Angeles Dodgers. But is there any way that some of the stench from this potential scandal blows back on the Angels organization?

Could LA Angels get swept up in Shohei Ohtani-Dodgers controversy?

It's a fair question to ask, as it seems Mizuhara's $4.5 million in alleged gambling debts were accumulated prior to Ohtani signing with the Dodgers earlier this offseason. According to Yahoo! Sports, $1 million was sent to bookie Mathew Boyer -- in Ohtani's name -- between Sept. and Oct. 2023. Until this past December, when Ohtani inked the largest contract in major league history, the two-way star's entire career had been spend in Anaheim.

Ohtani made his major league debut with the Halos in 2018, winning the AL Rookie of the Year while while posting a .925 OPS and crushing 22 home runs. By 2021, Ohtani was a household name, went to his first All-Star Game, and won the first of his two AL MVP Awards. For the past three seasons, Ohtani has been the biggest draw in the sport and is an international icon.

But this latest revelation could tarnish his image quite a bit, especially if a potential investigation leads to some skeletons in Ohtani's closet. But would any punishment befall the Angels? Did any of what's being alleged happen in the Angels clubhouse, with the team's knowledge?

At this time, there are more questions than answers. But the potential exists for the Halos to get swept up in the controversy, especially if the investigation traces its roots far enough.

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