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LA Angels two-way superstarShohei Ohtani addressed his future Thursday night amid rumors hecould be moved before Tuesday’s 2022 MLB trade deadline.
“No matter where I’m playing,I’ll give it my all and make an effort to win that ballgame in the front ofme,” Ohtani told reporters. “I’m with the Angels at this time,and I’m very thankful for what they’ve done. I really like my team and myteammates. At this time I’m an Angel, and that is all I could concentrate on.”
The 28-year-old Japanese sensation hascompiled an .835 OPS with 21 home runs and 11 stolen bases as ahitter and a 2.81 ERA with 145 strikeouts in 99.1 innings as apitcher in 2022.
Jon Heyman and Joel Sherman of the NewYork Post reported Thursday the Angels are hearing offers forOhtani, but an agreement prior to the deadline is “most unlikely.”
“They need something similar to your topfour prospects,” a source told the Post about L.A.’s price tag.
It’s hard to learn just what Ohtanishould command on the trade market because you can find no comparables inthe modern game. He’s providing ace-level numbers as a starter whileaveraging 37 homers per 162 games at the plate.
He’s also creating a team-friendly $5.5million this year, meaning a contender wouldn’t require a ton offinancial flexibility to create him in, and he remains under club controlfor 2023 via arbitration.
So, while a team’s top four prospectsmay be considered a bit too rich for rival executives, the Angels aren’t out ofline for expecting a king’s ransom. Their leverage could lessen overtime if it becomes clear Ohtani is likely to test the free-agentmarket after next season.
All together, the problem is anothersign of Los Angeles’ failure to create a frequent winner around thetandem of Ohtani and Mike Trout.
The Angels reach the playoffsjust once since Trout arrived in 2011, plus they wereswept by the Kansas City Royals in the 2014 Division Series. They haven’tcracked .500 since Ohtani made his debut in 2018.
Barring an enormous turnaround, theunderwhelming stretch is on pace to keep this season with a 42-57record, that is 11 games behind the AL’s final wild-card spot.
Trout will probably remain with theAngels for the long term as he’s under contract through 2030 as partof a 12-year, $426.5 million deal which includes a complete no-tradeclause.
Exactly the same may not be true for Ohtani,who figures to once more face a lot of trade rumors on the offseason if he’snot dealt before next week’s deadline.