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Angels' Shohei Ohtani Says 'I Love My Team and My Teammates' amid MLB Trade Rumors

Tim Daniels@@TimDanielsBRFeatured Columnist IVJuly 29, 2022

Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images

Los Angeles Angels two-way superstar Shohei Ohtani addressed his future Thursday night amid rumors he could be moved before Tuesday's 2022 MLB 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. "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."

The 28-year-old Japanese sensation has compiled an .835 OPS with 21 home runs and 11 stolen bases as a hitter and a 2.81 ERA with 145 strikeouts in 99.1 innings as a pitcher in 2022.

Jon Heyman and Joel Sherman of the New York Post reported Thursday the Angels are listening to offers for Ohtani, but an agreement before the deadline is "very unlikely."

"They want something like your top four prospects," a source told the Post about L.A.'s asking price.

It's hard to know exactly what Ohtani should command on the trade market because there are no comparables in the modern game. He's providing ace-level numbers as a starter while averaging 37 homers per 162 games at the plate.

He's also making a team-friendly $5.5 million this season, meaning a contender wouldn't need a ton of financial flexibility to bring him in, and he remains under club control for 2023 via arbitration.

So, while a team's top four prospects may be a bit too rich for rival executives, the Angels aren't out of line for expecting a king's ransom. Their leverage could lessen over time if it becomes clear Ohtani is planning to test the free-agent market after next season.

As a whole, the situation is another sign of Los Angeles' failure to build a consistent winner around the tandem of Ohtani and Mike Trout.

The Angels have reached the playoffs just once since Trout arrived on the scene in 2011, and they were swept by the Kansas City Royals in the 2014 Division Series. They haven't cracked .500 since Ohtani made his debut in 2018.

Barring a massive turnaround, the underwhelming stretch is on pace to continue this year with a 42-57 record, which is 11 games behind the AL's final wild-card spot.

Trout will likely remain with the Angels for the long haul as he's under contract through 2030 as part of a 12-year, $426.5 million deal that includes a full no-trade clause.

The same might not be true for Ohtani, who figures to once again face plenty of trade rumors over the offseason if he's not dealt before next week's deadline.

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