Los Angeles Angels General Manager Perry Minasian has announced that Shohei Ohtani will not be traded this offseason.
This can be taken as good news or bad news. The good news is we get to watch another season of Ohtani in an Angels uniform.
The bad news is the Angels could potentially lose the Japanese superstar for nothing after the season.
The Angels are playing a very dangerous game by not trading Shohei Ohtani before Opening Day.
Shohei Ohtani is the best player in the world. He's an MVP-caliber hitter and Cy Young-caliber pitcher. He won the MVP award last season and had it not been for Aaron Judge breaking the AL home run record, he probably would've won it again this season. He will still get some votes and will undoubtedly finish second.
Ohtani makes the Angels much better on the field, obviously. Their floor and ceiling are raised a ton by Ohtani staying. On that front, it's good that he's not being traded.
The Angels won 73 games last season and haven't made the playoffs since signing Ohtani back in the 2017 offseason.
With Ohtani staying put, the Angels do have a shot at the postseason if everything goes right. That means Mike Trout has to stay healthy. That means Anthony Rendon has to be the $38 million dollar player the Angels are paying him to be. That means the young rotation will have to take a step forward.
Will all of this happen? Maybe. Probably not.
The reason I say this could be bad news is the chance Ohtani leaves.
If the Angels do not extend Ohtani before Opening Day, holding onto him is not a wise move.
The Angels signed Ohtani to a one-year $30 million dollar deal to avoid arbitration. This is the final year of his deal before he hits free agency.
I have no idea if Ohtani wants to remain an Angel long-term. I do know there was some frustration voiced after the 2022 campaign.
Letting Ohtani start the season as an Angel means he could get hurt at any moment. Any pitcher is at serious risk of doing something to his elbow with every pitch. If Ohtani hurts himself the Angels are doomed and won't get anything for him at the trade deadline.
If Ohtani plays out the whole season, there's a chance he can leave for nothing. The only way that is worth it is if the Angels win the World Series in 2023. I don't think there's much of a chance of that happening
The Angels are playing a very risky game here. They are essentially banking on an Ohtani extension at some point which I'm not sure is coming.
I get that owner Arte Moreno is looking into selling the team. I have no idea when a sale will take place and if one will at all. The Angels are a more appealing product with Ohtani involved in the equation. However, they are not appealing if he's going to leave after the season. Acquiring a ton of talent makes them easier to purchase as well.
The Angels really should have considered getting a massive haul back for him before they can't anymore. By waiting until the trade deadline the chances for a greater return are already diminished.
Hopefully, the Angels find a way to extend Shohei Ohtani. If they can't, not trading him before Opening Day is a huge mistake.