The Los Angeles Angels, once hopeful for a triumphant season, have encountered a series of setbacks that have cast a shadow over their playoff ambitions. In August alone, their record stands at a disappointing 7-18, pushing them further away from playoff contention. This stark decline comes on the heels of a trade deadline acquisition that was anticipated to reshape their fortunes, including players like Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez.
One standout aspect was the team’s determination to retain two-way sensation Shohei Ohtani, with the aspiration of clinching a postseason berth and enticing him to extend his contract beyond this season. Regrettably, the Angels’ plummeting performance has all but shattered their postseason dreams. The situation worsened when Ohtani suffered a UCL injury, creating uncertainty around his impending free agency as he faces the prospect of undergoing Tommy John surgery.
While the organization is seeking a second opinion before making a definitive decision, speculations have emerged about the potential implications of this unfortunate turn of events. A confidential source, an MLB executive who conversed with Bob Nightengale of USA Today, underscored the significant consequences of Ohtani’s possible surgery. If he proceeds with the procedure, Ohtani might not be back on the mound until 2025 at the earliest. Moreover, the extent to which he can regain his former prowess remains uncertain.
This unforeseen circumstance has notably impacted Ohtani’s market value in the realm of free agency. Initially projected to command a contract worth around $600 million, his estimated worth has now dwindled to a range between $300 million and $400 million. While this still represents a substantial figure, the Angels have demonstrated their readiness to secure players under lucrative agreements, exemplified by Mike Trout’s monumental $426 million deal and Anthony Rendon’s $245 million contract.
“Teams were looking at him as a No. 1 starter, and the hitting was secondary,‘’ one veteran executive said. “The value of Ohtani was 1-1, the No. 1 starter and the greatest DH in the game. No one was paying Ohtani to be a No. 3 starter. The teams that are needing a No. 1 starter now won’t go after him.“
“So, I really think this dramatically helps the Angels.‘’
Setting aside the availability of the latter player, the possibility of signing the 29-year-old Ohtani for approximately $300 million holds considerable merit. Despite his UCL injury, Ohtani retains his stature as one of baseball’s premier hitters, capable of contributing significantly to the Angels’ offensive efforts. Furthermore, his injury might render him a more affordable prospect for the Halos and deter competing teams from entering the fray for his services.
While the loss of Ohtani’s pitching skills undoubtedly impacts the Angels’ performance, it also represents a profound turning point that could yield substantial long-term gains. Although the team’s aspirations for this season have dwindled, the upcoming offseason presents an opportunity for strategic decision-making that could redefine the Angels’ trajectory.