LA Angels owner Arte Moreno’s luxury tax scheme could screw over Shohei Ohtani

Mar 20, 2018; Tempe, AZ, USA; Arte Moreno, LA Angels
Mar 20, 2018; Tempe, AZ, USA; Arte Moreno, LA Angels / Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

LA Angels owner Arte Moreno was one of four owners who opposed the luxury tax threshold amount to increase to $220 million. It raised many eyebrows, as the other owners were the men who own the Arizona Diamondbacks, the Detroit Tigers, and the Cincinnati Reds. The LA Angels and Moreno typically spend much more than these other three.

Not only does this prove that Moreno does not want other big market teams who always choose to spend more than him to be able to splurge even more before they are punished by the luxury tax, but it also points to Moreno of course being one of the key contributors to the lockout extending to this point.

It begs the question of 'why' Moreno is complacent with games being canceled. When doing just a little big of digging when analyzing the Angels' roster, it's actually fairly obvious. The more games get canceled, the higher of a chance there is to delaying Shohei Ohtani's free agency.

LA Angels' two-way superstar Shohei Ohtani is set to become a free agent after the 2023 season.

If the league cancels enough games, the LA Angels' two-way sensation Shohei Ohtani may not have this season count as a year of service time, forcing him to be arbitration eligible for another year. That's because Ohtani has been in the league for four years. This would be his fifth, but if this isn't counted as a fifth year of service time, he would be arbitration eligible for not just next offseason, but the next one as well. This of course means that Ohtani would have to wait to be a free agent until after the 2024 season.

Players are arbitration eligible if they have three-plus years of Major League service time, but less than six. So, Ohtani would have six years in the league after 2023, but would only have five years of service time if the lockout extends to a certain point. Therefore, it's really no surprise that Moreno is one of the four owners who isn't budging despite games already being canceled.

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The more games are canceled, the higher of a chance Ohtani won't qualify for a year of service time this year. The amount of games that would have to be missed before his season wouldn't be counted as service time depends on what the agreed upon terms are, but this certainly puts Ohtani's free agency in massive danger of getting delayed. Any owner is going to jump at the chance to have Ohtani essentially locked in with their team for an extra year.