Alanna Rizzo of MLB Network appeared on High Heat with Chris Russo and just made up a take about Los Angeles Angels star Shohei Ohtani and his future. The full clip of Rizzo and Russo talking can be found here, but there's one thing to really focus on.
MLB Network reporter makes up claim about Shohei Ohtani and his future
Rizzo said that Ohtani has made it publicly known that he wants to leave Anaheim and will 100% leave this offseason. Whether he leaves or not remains to be seen, but Shohei Ohtani has never, not once, said that he wants to leave Anaheim publicly.
After the season ended, Ohtani said that he had a negative impression of how the 2022 season went. Who wouldn't? The Angels won 73 games and missed the playoffs once again. Ohtani's desire to win is very clear and it'd honestly be concerning if he was thrilled with how a 73-win season went. That's the only thing you could perceive to be negative that Ohtani has said about the Angels.
If the Angels don't win games in 2023 it's very likely that Ohtani will depart and go elsewhere. Even if they do win games, it's very possible Ohtani departs. Arte Moreno is still here, and we have no idea how Ohtani feels about that. We have no idea how Ohtani feels about anything!
Rizzo said that Ohtani has made it known that he doesn't want to stay in Anaheim because he doesn't think they're going to win in Anaheim. This is objectively untrue as there is not one quote out there with Ohtani saying this.
What does she think happens if the Angels win 90+ games in 2023 and make it to the playoffs? The roster they have isn't a playoff lock by any means but I expect them to be in the thick of it.
Rizzo is pushing an Ohtani to the Mets narrative just like many other writers out there are. The fit makes a lot of sense as Mets owner Steve Cohen has stopped at nothing to make his team the best it could be but that argument is a little flawed.
Does Rizzo not remember what happened when Ohtani signed with the Angels at first? Ohtani only negotiated with teams out west. Even if Ohtani leaves the Angels it's not like the Mets are the only team that will offer him whatever it is that he wants. The Dodgers are gearing up for this, the Padres have spent a ton, and the Giants just missed out on two monster free agents.
Ohtani has stayed remarkably quiet about his impending free agency focusing only on the 2023 season which is good for the Angels. The last thing we need is this distraction hanging over our heads all year. Alanna Rizzo could very well be right about Ohtani leaving, but he has never said anything publicly to confirm her claim.
It's clear these analysts want to see Ohtani elsewhere, but let's not make things up.