Los Angeles Angels’ Superstar Mike Trout Will Do Whatever He Can To Keep Shohei Ohtani Playing For The Angels

Los Angeles Angels superstar pitcher/designated hitter, Shohei Ohtani is in the final year of his contract.

Ohtani will be paid $30 million this year by Angels owner Arturo Moreno.

If Moreno can’t sign Ohtani to an extension, Ohtani will become a free agent.

For his part, Ohtani has stated he is willing to negotiate with the Angels during spring training. However, Ohtani’s agent, Nez Balelo, has stated very little about Ohtani’s future contract status.

Most analysts feel Ohtani will let his contract expire this year, and enter the offseason free agent market as the most highly coveted MLB free agent in history. Ohtani’s market may make Aaron Judge’s free agency shopping venture pale in comparison.

Ohtani’s superstar teammate, Mike Trout, is well aware that Ohtani is a pending free agent.

“I’m going to do whatever I can to keep Shohei here,” Trout told ESPN before an Angels spring training workout.

“This is the year, for sure,” Trout told the New York Post. “This has got to be the year. It’s got to be.”

The sky is the limit for Ohtani’s next contract.

Consider that Trout is working on a 12-year, $426 million contract he signed with the Angels in 2019.

Every dollar of Trout’s contract is guaranteed. And Mr. Moreno will be paying that contract until the end of the 2031 season.

The Angels are also paying often injured third baseman Anthony Rendon on a 7-year, $245 million contract that runs through 2026.

Ohtani’s situation is unique. He is an All Star quality pitcher, and an All Star quality hitter. He is being paid for stardom in two distinct roles; pitcher and designated hitter. He can win games on the mound, and he can win games at the plate.

The problem is the Angels haven’t won enough games to be a factor in the postseason, and Ohtani wants to win.

Mike Trout has done everything he can to help his team win.

Mike Trout-Age 31-parts of 12 MLB seasons, all with the Angels:

American League Rookie of the Year in 2012

American League Wilson Defensive Player of the Year in 2012

American League All Star 10 times

All Star MVP in 2014 and 2015

MLB 2014 and 2019 American League Hank Aaron Award winner, given to the best hitter in the league

American League Most Valuable Player in 2014, 2016 and 2019

Major League Player of the Year in 2019

All MLB-Team in 2019, 2020. 2022

Nine Silver Slugger Awards

Shohei Ohtani has been with the Angels for parts of five seasons. In those five years, he has won awards and complemented Trout as a magnificent one-two punch in the Angels lineup:

Shohei Ohtani-Age 28-five big league seasons stateside with the Angels:

American League All Star in 2021 and 2022

American League Rookie of the Year in 2018

All MLB Team in 2021, 2022

MLB Edgar Martinez Award as the best Designated Hitter in 2021 and 2022

Major League Player of the Year in 2021

American League Most Valuable Player in 2021

This is difficult to believe with both Ohtani and Trout anchoring their roster, but the Angels have not been to the postseason since 2014, when they were swept in three games by the Kansas City Royals in the American League Division Series.

Even more difficult to believe, prior to 2014, the Angels hadn’t appeared in a postseason since 2009, when they lost to the New York Yankees in six games in the American League Championship Series.

One can easily understand the sense of frustration and urgency in Trout’s statements about the coming season.

If Ohtani is not extended by the Angels, look for teams like the Los Angeles Dodgers, the San Diego Padres, the Seattle Mariners, and yes, the New York Mets to try their best to sign the 28-year-old Ohtani.

In fact, the Dodgers have reduced their anticipated 2023 payroll to $227 million, a reduction of $35 million from their final payroll estimate for 2022. Might that reduction be with an eye to breaking the bank for Ohtani next offseason?

Ohtani To The Dodgers?

Ohtani could fill a real Dodgers need in their rotation and at the plate.

The Dodgers have designated right-hander Trevor Bauer for assignment. While Bauer didn’t pitch last year due to a suspension, the Dodgers could have kept him on their roster after his suspension time was reduced. They chose to let him go.

The Dodgers are hoping Clayton Kershaw’s barking back can withstand a full season on the mound. An All Star quality pitcher when healthy, Kershaw has been missing starts in recent seasons due to serious back issues.

Right-hander Walker Buehler, an excellent young starter, is coming off his second Tommy John surgery. There is no timetable for his return, but his loss is impactful.

Right-hander Dustin May is returning from Tommy John surgery, and it is likely his innings will be limited early in the season, as he works his way back into the rotation.

Right-hander Noah Syndergaard was signed as a free agent, and he’ll join this year’s rotation. However, there is reason to wonder how effective Syndergaard will be following his own injury history.

Ohtani would be a welcome edition to a Dodgers club that would probably have little trouble meeting his free agent contract demands.

Ohtani to the Padres?

If, indeed, Ohtani passes on staying with the Angels, and if he wants to remain on the west coast, why not sign with the San Diego Padres?

Other than the New York Mets, the Padres have been big spenders on long-term player contracts in their continuing effort to knock the Dodgers out in the National League West.

According to Fangraphs, as of this writing, the Padres have an estimated 2023 payroll of $249 million. That represents an increase of $38 million from last season.

The Padres have already exceeded the $233 million dollar first threshold of the four-tier MLB Luxury Tax Payroll System. The next threshold is $273 million. They may hit that at some point in the near future.

If the season were to start tomorrow, the Padres rotation would likely be Yu Darvish, Blake Snell, Michael Wacha, Nick Martinez, and Seth Lugo. Joe Musgrove will slot back into the rotation when he recovers from a current fractured toe.

But make no mistake, in their quest to unseat the Dodgers, the Padres would likely be very interested if Shohei Ohtani becomes a free agent.

Before any team has a chance to sign Ohtani, they will have to wait to see if the Angels superstar starting pitcher/designated hitter signs a contract extension with his current team.

For now, Ohtani’s teammate Mike Trout will be doing his part to bring a postseason worthy, winning team to Anaheim.

Source: https://www.forbes.com/sites/berniepleskoff/2023/03/07/los-angeles-angels-superstar-mike-trout-will-do-whatever-he-can-to-keep-shohei-ohtani-playing-for-the-angels/