The Los Angeles Angels haven’t had a particularly successful season in 2021, a year that is shaping up to be yet another failure.
Los Angeles is fourth in the American League West division with a 59-60 record.
Los Angeles is 12 games behind the Houston Astros for the division lead.
The Wild Card is also very far from their reach, as they are 9.5 games behind the second spot.
Qualifying for the postseason seems like a pipe dream at this point, even if Trout returns soon.
Unfortunately for the Angels, these type of things (years of disappointment and failure) usually add up and result in the player wanting out of the team to seek a better opportunity to win.
What Would Be Ohtani’s Priorities?
Nearly every MLB team had a shot at signing Ohtani back in 2018 before the contract required to secure his services was going to be pricey.
He entered the league earning the minimum and with the same team-control considerations (three years of near-minimum pay, three years of salary arbitration) as any regular prospect.
That means he chose the Angels, and imagining him in another uniform is not easy.
However, we don’t know his priorities: Will he eventually get tired of the losing culture in the Angels at some point?
Despite having one of the best players in the history of the game in Trout, the last time they went to the postseason was in 2014, with an early exit.
Since Ohtani landed in Los Angeles, the Angels haven’t even sniffed October.
One would think Ohtani loves the city and is already a symbol on his own team, but he could get tired of losing and seek to sign with a contender when he reaches free agency.
Ohtani's stats would be much better on a team like the Redsox, Dodgers, or SF. The only chance the Angels have of keeping him for the long term is if Arte offers him a blank check and winning isn't his priority.
— Carlos Berton (@ana_cjb) July 20, 2021
Decision-Making Time Is Getting Closer
Speaking of free agency, the Angels certainly tried to improve their chances by signing Anthony Rendon before the 2020 season.
However, they haven’t been able to bring elite pitching to town, and it has hurt their chances to dominate opposing lineups and put Ohtani in a position to succeed.
This season, Ohtani has been the Angels’ best pitcher and hitter, by far.
He is hitting .271/.363/.653 with 39 home runs and 86 RBI.
As a pitcher, he has been the ace of the rotation, with a 7-1 record and a 2.93 ERA.
He has 112 strikeouts in 92 innings, and the Angels have done a good job keeping him healthy despite playing almost every day as a hitter and pitching once a week.
For Ohtani, the moment of making long-term decisions is getting closer.
Where is he going to play for the long-term?
He signed a two-year, $8.5 contract that covers 2021 and 2022.
He played for $3 million this season, his first one of arbitration eligibility, and will do so for $5.5 million next year.
Not mention they’re already like $30M under the cap as it is b4 JUp and Pujols come off the books….they’re more than fine financially. Now whether Ohtani actually wants to stay with the Angels long term is anyone’s guess at this point in time.
— SportsNut (@Timosabe112) August 13, 2021
After that, he will be arbitration-eligible for the last time in 2023, and is set to enter unrestricted free agency in 2024.
What will Ohtani do?
Nobody knows at this point, probably not even himself, but the Angels aren’t helping their cause.NEXT: 3 Reasons Why Angels Should Shut Down Mike Trout