Shohei Ohtani ahead of trade deadline: ‘Right now I’m an Angel’
from Adam Stites, with YardBarker.com/www.yardbarker.com
Shohei Ohtani struck out 11 and allowed only two runs Thursday night against the Texas Rangers, but it wasn’t enough and the Los Angeles Angels fell to 42-57 on the year with a 2-0 loss. After the game, Ohtani addressed the growing possibility that he could be part of a blockbuster deal before the Aug. 2 trade deadline.
“Regardless of where I’m playing, I’m going to give it my all and try to win that ballgame in front of me,” Ohtani told reporters through a translator, via ESPN. “I’m with the Angels right now, and I’m very thankful for what they’ve done. I love my team and my teammates. Right now I’m an Angel, and that’s all I can focus on.”
Last week, MLB Network’s Jon Morosi reported that teams reaching out to the Angels with interest in acquiring Ohtani were being turned away. But on Thursday, Jon Heyman of the New York Post reported that Los Angeles is listening to offers for Ohtani, after all. While a deal is reportedly “very unlikely,” the door is finally ajar.
Ohtani, 28, is an ultra-rare two-way player who reigns as the AL MVP. This season, he has a 9-6 record on the mound with a career-best 2.81 ERA along with 21 home runs and 59 RBI as a batter.
While he’s arguably the most valuable talent in MLB, the Angels are still 15 games below .500 and there’s a chance that Ohtani leaves as a free agent in coming years. While he’s eligible for arbitration in 2023, Ohtani reportedly wants a “very long deal” and he could command a record-breaking total. That could be a difficult deal for the Angels to make as the team has already committed massive amounts to center fielder Mike Trout and third baseman Anthony Rendon but hasn’t seen postseason success with those contracts.