The Los Angeles Angels have the best player in baseball on an expiring contract. Shohei Ohtani will hit free agency this offseason for the first time since the Angels signed him.
Ohtani signing an extension would be the dream scenario, but it feels almost impossible to happen. Stranger things have happened, but with the superstar being this close to free agency and the Angels being unable to prove themselves as a winning organization (yet), Ohtani has no reason to sign now. The Angels will hope and pray that Shohei chooses to remain an Angel for life. Whether or not this is a good decision is a discussion for another day.
With Opening Day coming up, plenty of players often sign extensions before the first pitch is thrown. Andres Gimenez just signed a seven-year extension with the Guardians despite being far away from free agency. With this in mind, the Angels do have players not named Shohei Ohtani that they should try to extend.
3) The Angels should extend Logan O'Hoppe before Opening Day
This might be a bit crazy, but these kinds of deals happen now. Corbin Carroll just signed an eight-year extension with the Diamondbacks worth $111 million. That bought out all of his arbitration years as well as two of his free agent years. Carroll inked this extension after just 32 MLB games played. Some players even sign before they play a single big league game. O'Hoppe has only five games played, but he feels like the catcher of the future. He looks like a legitimate hitter who's also looked quite good behind the plate.
If the Angels believe O'Hoppe is their catcher of the future, the time to get him on a team-friendly discount is now. At just 23 years of age, the Angels can give him a deal for even less than what Carroll got, as O'Hoppe isn't quite as highly touted as Carroll is.
We've seen the Braves lock their stars up years before free agency, and they're praised for it. Doing this now could allow the Angels to have O'Hoppe at well below market value for his prime years, which if the Angels are able to retain Shohei Ohtani, will become in handy for a team never willing to go over the tax.
The Angels haven't done deals like this and I don't expect them to do it now, but this is just a fun idea to keep a player they should be looking to build around in town throughout his entire prime.