The Los Angeles Angels went 73-89 and missed the postseason for an eighth consecutive season. Fans are frustrated, and so are the players.
There seems to be uncertainty with the ownership situation and the Angels roster in general needs a lot of work for them to be competitive.
The Angels have a lot to figure out, and fast.
The best player in baseball, Shohei Ohtani, was critical of the Angels 2022 campaign and that raises a lot of uncertainty about his future in Anaheim.
Ohtani recently returned home to Japan and gave an interview at the airport. He said it was a "good season for me personally. Not so good for the Angels though."
He's not wrong. Ohtani had a monster year at the plate and on the mound. He finished with a 9.6 bWAR and if it wasn't for Aaron Judge, he'd win his second straight MVP. The Angels, on the other hand, were not competitive for most of the season.
Ohtani cited the 14 game losing streak from late May to early June as a frustration point. He also said "I have to say that August and September in particular felt longer to me than last year." This makes sense as the 14 game losing streak came right after a pretty promising start. The Angels had nothing to play for in August and September.
The Angels have two of the best players in baseball in Ohtani and Mike Trout and have yet to find a way to field a winning team during Ohtani's tenure in Anaheim. With just one year remaining under team control, the Angels course of action should be very simple.
First, they should sit down and ask Ohtani if he'd sign an extension. They should offer him whatever contract he'd accept and run away. Unfortunately, I'd bet he doesn't want to stay and I'm not even sure the Angels would be willing to extend him right now because of owner Arte Moreno's potential pursuit of selling the team.
If he says no, or if the Angels are unwilling to extend him, they must trade him this offseason. They must trade him before he can get hurt, underperform, or request a trade. The trade package even with him being in his final year will be franchise-altering and is something the Angels must pursue if an extension can't be reached.
Fortunately, all 29 teams will be calling and there should be a massive bidding war. I'm not sure what the package will be, but something a little less than the package Juan Soto got for the Nationals makes sense.
This is not Ohtani's first time being critical of the Angels, as he has said in the past that he's uncertain about his future plans after 2023.
This is a very unfortunate situation for the Angels that can be salvaged if they handle it the right way.