The Los Angeles Angels have been one of the most disappointing teams in MLB during the 2021 season.
They are, as of Wednesday afternoon, 74-83, in fourth place in the American League West division behind the Houston Astros, Seattle Mariners, and Oakland Athletics.
Yes, the roster suffered several long-term injuries, including Trout and Rendon, but nevertheless, nine games below .500 should be unacceptable, considering the succession of years in which they have failed to make it to the postseason.
Speaking His Mind
While discussing his future with the media, Ohtani said the following this week:
“I really like the team, I love the fans and the atmosphere as a team. But more than that, I want to win. That’s the biggest thing for me. I’ll leave it at that.”
Let’s analyze the complete sentence.
Shohei Ohtani, who remains under team control through 2023, said there hasn't been any extension talks yet.
"I really like the team, I love the fans and the atmosphere as a team. But more than that, I want to win. That's the biggest thing for me. I'll leave it at that."
— Rhett Bollinger (@RhettBollinger) September 26, 2021
He seemingly enjoys playing in Los Angeles, in front of Angels fans.
However, he prioritizes winning, and it sounds like any decision he makes in the future will be with that in mind: contract extension negotiations, potential trade interest, and others.
The “I’ll leave it at that” part should be the most worrisome for Angels fans.
Ohtani, who is having a historic season by batting .256/.370/.592 with 45 homers and a .962 OPS and pitching to a phenomenal 3.18 ERA, a 9-2 record in 130.1innings, and 156 strikeouts, seems to have some sort of disagreement and/or unhappiness with the way things are going in Los Angeles.
He arrived in 2018, lured by the idea of playing with a truly generational player in Trout, but hasn’t enjoyed a winning season since then.
In fact, the Angels’ issues go way back: they haven’t had a winning season since 2015, and they didn’t make it to the playoffs that year.
Things Need To Change In Los Angeles If They Want Ohtani Long-Term
The last time they made it into October was in 2014.
They have had Trout as a major league regular since 2011, yet 2014 remains the only year in which the team has been able to make the postseason during his time in MLB.
Ohtani hasn’t seen the playoffs, and that needs to change.
He is not wrong by saying he wants to win: that’s every player’s dream.
He should not be criticized for speaking his mind, as he wasn’t disrespectful to anyone: he just wants to win, and he has every right to seek the best situation for him.
The Angels have Ohtani for the next two years before he hits free agency, but they surely would be interested in an extension.
Analyzing his words, Ohtani would surely like to see some progress in 2022 before committing his future to the organization.
That’s why next season is so important for the Angels: not only they will have their star offensive trio (Trout, Ohtani, and Rendon) back, but they will have another full offseason to improve their lousy pitching and put Ohtani in the best possible position to win.
Ohtani said he wanted to win right after saying he like the team & loved the fans. Logical conclusion… he wants to stay & be a winning Angel. Who ever makes hiring decisions, give this team stronger teammates.
— Mary Metz (@MegForward) September 29, 2021
They will have to show Ohtani they can win long-term, and only then, will he consider a future in Los Angeles.NEXT: Leaving Angels Was Best Thing That Could've Happened To Albert Pujols