The Los Angeles Angels have centered their entire 2023 season around keeping Shohei Ohtani happy with the ultimate goal of locking him up for a very long time. The Angels went all in trying to win this season to show Ohtani that they were capable of doing so, but their attempt failed miserably. Not only are the Halos looking at a ninth consecutive year of no playoffs, but they could be looking at no Shohei Ohtani in 2024 and beyond.
Former General Manager and current writer for The Athletic Jim Bowden wrote up the latest rumors he's heard about Ohtani and listed his ten most likely spots for Ohtani to land this offseason. Spoiler alert: It's not good.
If what this former GM is saying is true, the LA Angels could be in a world of trouble
"Ohtani wants to be at the center of the biggest stage, which means playing on Halloween every year and multiple visits to the White House as a World Series champion in the coming years. That’s his goal.- Jim Bowden - The Athletic
Therefore, as I wrote in July, Ohtani’s time with the Angels is coming to an end. Now he’s not going to say that publicly. But it’s over. He’s spent six years with the Angels and they’ve never finished above .500. His next destination will put him back in the spotlight where he belongs."
Bowden made it abundantly clear that Ohtani's biggest goal is winning championships. He has a preference of staying out west, but that's trumped by his burning desire to win games. The Angels, who haven't had a winning season since 2015, haven't made the postseason since 2014, and haven't won more than 80 games with Shohei, would have a really hard time selling this winning vision.
Truth be told, we have no idea what Ohtani is thinking. He hasn't said much of anything publicly regarding his free agency status, so we don't know for sure what Ohtani's thoughts and priorities truly are. This is all speculation from Bowden and his sources, but it's still not looking great.
Among the list of ten potential landing spots, the Angels are notably completely absent from the list. Numbers two and three on the list happen to reside in the AL West in the Texas Rangers and Seattle Mariners. Even in the five surprise teams Bowden believes could land Ohtani, the Houston Astros are listed. Ohtani remaining in the AL West while leaving the Angels would, of course, be the nightmare scenario here.
Of course, nobody is to blame for this potential nightmare scenario more than the Angels themselves. They had two prime opportunities to trade him and decided against it both times. This second time saw them trade many of their prime assets only to immediately collapse.
Even if you're of the belief that the Angels should not be spending the $500 million or even more potentially to retain Ohtani, the thought of him remaining in the AL West is one Angels fans should be very afraid of.