The hourglass on Shohei Ohtani’s time with the Angels seems to be dwindling.
Ohtani has an electrifying combination of hitting and pitching ability, the likes of which we haven’t seen since Babe Ruth. This is going to make him very expensive on his next deal — he is slated to become a free agent after next season — and the whispers around baseball are that the Angels are not going to be inclined to foot the bill.
“After this season, because Ohtani is eligible for free agency after 2023, the Angels are going to approach him about a contract extension that probably will start with an annual salary of $50 million,” MLB insider Buster Olney said on ESPN’s “Get Up” Friday morning.
“But I’ve got to tell you, speaking with executives of other teams, they believe Ohtani will not sign with the Angels. They believe he’s going to get to free agency. So this winter will be the first time when the Angels will have to seriously consider trading Ohtani. I think if they struggle next year, it either happens mid-summer if they don’t trade him this winter. One way or the other, I don’t think Ohtani is going to get through 2023 with the Angels.”
Earlier this week, after Ohtani was not dealt at the trade deadline, several baseball executives questioned the logic of the Angels hanging onto him.
“In fourteen months, he’s out the door,” one rival exec told The Post’s MLB insider Jon Heyman. “And once he’s out the door, he’s never coming back.”
Ohtani, the logic went, could have returned a monster package in line with what the Nationals got in return for Juan Soto. Now, the Angels carry some injury risk, plus the value is lower because a team that was in championship contention this year could’ve paid big for the extra postseason of his talents.
The 28-year-old Ohtani, who won the 2021 AL MVP, is batting .258 with 24 home runs and a .859 OPS. Pitching wise, he’s 9-7 with a 2.83 ERA.
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