They haven’t even sniffed the postseason, but that speaks louder about the Angels than it does about Ohtani.
He has done everything in his power to help them qualify, but has been constantly surrounded by mediocrity.
In his first two seasons, he accumulated 40 homers and 22 stolen bases with a 3.31 ERA in 2018.
He didn’t pitch much in 2019 or 2020, but posted legitimate Cy Young-caliber seasons in 2021 and 2022 while slugging 46 and 34 homers, respectively.
The Angels haven’t made it to October in recent years, but it’s definitely not because of Ohtani and fellow star Mike Trout.
They have suffered injuries, yes, but the Angels haven’t been able to back them up even when they have been healthy.
The 2023 campaign will be the last arbitration year for Ohtani: after the World Series, he will test the free agent waters.
That’s unless he comes to some sort of a long-term agreement to stay, which is unlikely.
Still, Trout remains hopeful that the team can convince him to stay with a big year.
“‘There’s nothing more that he wants to do than win. We gotta put a big year together and hopefully keep him here.’ – Mike Trout on Shohei Ohtani,” MLB Network tweeted with an excerpt of an interview with Chris “Mad Dog” Russo.
"There's nothing more that he wants to do than win. We gotta put a big year together and hopefully keep him here." – Mike Trout on Shohei Ohtani
— MLB Network (@MLBNetwork) January 23, 2023
Trout and the Angels are running out of time to convince Ohtani, and only have the 2023 season to put in a compelling case in their favor.
LA does look better, but they have fooled us in the past, including recently.
If they can make the postseason and win a playoff series, maybe Ohtani will reconsider and can think long and hard about staying.
If the season ends in another bitter disappointment, he will likely leave.
He won’t lack suitors.