MLB Insider: Angels limit for a Shohei Ohtani contract begs the question why they didn't trade him

Let's hope the Angels confidence that they can keep him is justified.
Los Angeles Angels v Oakland Athletics
Los Angeles Angels v Oakland Athletics / Thearon W. Henderson/GettyImages

The Los Angeles Angels have had a crazy season revolving around Shohei Ohtani and what could be his final year with the club, and things will only get crazier this offseason. It felt rather obvious that even though one insider believes the team won't be "in" on him this offseason, that the Angels would do whatever they reasonably could to keep their superstar in town for the long haul.

Ohtani has the torn UCL which will force him to miss all of 2024 on the mound, but he still expects to hit and plans on pitching in 2025 and beyond. With that in mind, while his price will undoubtedly take a hit, Ohtani can still fetch the richest contract in MLB history.

The Angels knew that Ohtani would be getting record-setting money when they kept him past the trade deadline, but the question has always been how far Arte Moreno would actually be willing to go. Bob Nightengale of USA Today has that answer.

LA Angels reportedly like their chances to retain Shohei Ohtani if free agency bids stay under $500 million

$500 million is the magic number. If a team is willing to go over it, Nightengale believes the Angels will bow out of the running for Ohtani. He believes if a deal were to go over the $500 million mark, the Dodgers, Giants, Padres and perhaps the Mariners would swoop in and attempt to make an offer Ohtani can't refuse.

There's a decent chance Ohtani reaches the $500 million mark even with the torn UCL, and it felt like it was a certainty before that injury. The question here is if $500 million is their limit, why did they keep him? They essentially gave themselves no shot at even retaining him past this season if he stayed healthy.

Even if the Angels offered him the most money I believe they'd still fall behind some other teams who'd be considered favorites, but that at least gets him seriously listening. Ohtani wants to win, and the Angels have shown nothing that proves they can win.

With the injury there, maybe Ohtani's deal will stay below the $500 million mark and the Halos find a way to keep him. If the contract goes above $500 million and the Angels just bow out of the running, it's yet another reason to question why they didn't simply move him when they had the chance.