When the Los Angeles Angels chose not to trade away their two-way superstar Shohei Ohtani last month, the decision elicited mixed feelings. On one hand, the team held onto their star player while in the heat of the playoff race.
Yet, there was another perspective. Many believed this choice might prove regrettable, considering Ohtani’s upcoming free agency and the ongoing speculation that he might seek a more victorious team elsewhere. As a result, the Angels inadvertently positioned themselves in a situation where they risked gaining minimal returns for the contemporary equivalent of Babe Ruth.
Jumping ahead a few weeks, the Angels find themselves grappling with turbulence. They’ve virtually slipped out of the playoff contention, and to exacerbate matters, Ohtani has suffered a tear in his UCL.
The current scenario increasingly suggests that the Angels potentially erred in retaining Ohtani beyond the trade deadline, even before his injury occurrence.
Owner Arte Moreno was resolute in not trading Ohtani. He aimed to avoid being remembered as the owner who traded away a player of Ohtani’s caliber. However, this prideful stance might have misfired, possibly pushing the team further back. Although the injury to Ohtani was unforeseeable, the team’s playoff prospects were already slim by the trade deadline. Opting to trade Ohtani for valuable assets would have made sense.
The Angels displayed a proactive stance to bolster the team’s chances but faced disappointment. While it’s challenging to fault them for their efforts, some trades simply don’t fulfill the hype.
This pattern has emerged recurrently during Moreno’s ownership tenure. Although he contemplated selling the team last year, he retained ownership just prior to Spring Training.
Now, the Angels likely confront an extended postseason drought, and Ohtani might depart without compensation.
The gravity of Ohtani’s injury could be the only factor binding him to the organization in the short term, contingent upon its severity. Ohtani might prefer rehabilitating with the team where he feels most at ease.
The collective baseball world anxiously awaits the news on whether Tommy John Surgery will be necessary again, especially considering the anticipation for Ohtani’s impending free agency and a potentially groundbreaking contract.
While such developments remain plausible, further insight into the injury is imperative.
The Angels’ decision to retain Ohtani is shaping up as a misstep, and they must now grapple with the ramifications of that choice.