The Los Angeles Angels have a massive offseason ahead of them with Shohei Ohtani set to hit free agency. The Halos hope they can retain the best player in the game, but with everything going on that feels less than likely to occur.
The Angels have gone through eight straight losing seasons and nine straight seasons with no playoffs. Ohtani has yet to play in one meaningful game in his six seasons with the Angels, and there's little reason to believe that'll change anytime in the near future.
While the Angels will presumably do whatever they can to get him back, they do also need to prepare for a potential life without Shohei. The offseason cannot hinge on one player. They need to have a plan if they keep him, and a plan if he bolts. Joel Sherman of the New York Post heard from one agent that he believes the Halos do have a plan if Shohei leaves.
LA Angels rumored plan to become sellers if Shohei Ohtani leaves would require a big change of heart from Arte Moreno
In his latest article for the NY Post, Sherman comes up with a potential mock trade with the Angels selling in mind. He does this because he says "one veteran agent told me recently that if the Angels do not re-sign Shohei Ohtani, he believed they would become sellers." Sherman accurately points out his concerns with the agent believing this saying that Arte Moreno has never done this before, but it's absolutely what the Angels should do if Ohtani leaves.
This Angels team went 73-89 this past season despite getting historic play from Shohei Ohtani for the first five months of the season. He's going to win his second MVP in the last three seasons, and some argue he should have won all three. How exactly are the Angels going to lose that player and improve?
Sure, the Angels could get more injury luck and if that happens I can see this team winning an extra game or two, but this is nothing close to a playoff team. Selling would allow the Angels to rebuild a bad farm system and build something sustainable.
The idea of this sounds awesome, but Arte Moreno has never gone all in on selling. Sure, he's allowed GM's to sell at trade deadlines, but he always goes into any given season expecting to win. He spends a good amount of money in free agency on stars and expects the team to work around his budgetary constraints. Judging by this last decade, the Angels plan of building a winner surrounding a couple of stars by staying under the luxury tax hasn't worked.
This plan of selling would require the Angels to ship guys like Brandon Drury and Carlos Estevez away in exchange for prospects who cannot help the Angels right away. It would require Arte Moreno to have lower expectations in terms of winning in the present with the goal of winning a lot more in the future in mind. I'm sure most Angels fans would take another couple losing seasons if it means they can build something sustainable for 2026 and beyond.
Can the Angels pivot to sellers? Absolutely. Should they? Without a doubt. Will they with Arte Moreno in charge? That's harder to believe. Let's hope they can retain Shohei Ohtani. If they cannot, let's hope this agent is right in saying the team will actually pivot if he leaves.