Shohei Ohtani Trade Rumors: Angels to Keep Star amid Interest from Yankees, More

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVAugust 1, 2022

Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images

The Los Angeles Angels won't trade two-way star Shohei Ohtani ahead of Tuesday's 6 p.m. ET deadline, according to the New York Post's Jon Heyman.

Heyman reported the New York Yankees, San Diego Padres and Chicago White Sox made inquiries about Ohtani before the Angels took him off the trade market.

The 28-year-old is the reigning American League MVP and continuing to perform at an elite level in 2022. He's batting .255 with an .847 OPS and a 138 OPS+ at the plate, per Baseball Reference. On the mound, he's 9-6 with a 2.81 ERA and 2.37 FIP with 145 strikeouts across 99.1 innings.

Despite his somewhat limited usage, the right-hander is tied for seventh among pitchers in WAR (3.3), per FanGraphs.

While Ohtani is a truly generational talent, his long-term future with the Angels has come under doubt in recent weeks.

The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal reported in June that Ohtani's representatives had "informal discussions" with the Angels over an extension during spring training. He's arbitration-eligible for the 2023 season and can become a free agent after the 2023 campaign.

Rosenthal added that little progress was made prior to the 2022 regular season:

"Club officials expressed an understanding that to sign Ohtani, they would need to award him a record average salary, surpassing Max Scherzer’s $43.3 million. But the Angels, at least at that time, were reluctant to make the kind of long-term offer Ohtani almost certainly would command on the open market, sources said. Ohtani, coming off an MVP season, was at the peak of his value, much like Judge is right now with the Yankees. The talks never gained traction."

Angels owner Arte Moreno certainly hasn't been afraid to spend for proven talent. He signed Mike Trout to the biggest contract in MLB history, a 12-year, $426.5 million pact.

But Rosenthal noted Los Angeles has seen a number of noteworthy contracts backfire in a big way. Albert Pujols (10 years, $254 million) and Josh Hamilton (five years, $125 million) are the two biggest examples, and L.A. might already have buyer's remorse on the seven-year, $245 million deal it signed with Anthony Rendon in December 2019.

Since the start of 2004, the Angels have had a top-10 Opening Day payroll every single year. This season, the team is on pace to miss the playoffs for the 12th time in 13 years.

As much as the Angels should want to keep Ohtani around in theory, a level of hesitation from ownership or the front office is understandable. He's already in his late 20s and has one Tommy John surgery under his belt following his move to MLB.

For now, at least, any questions about Ohtani's status in Los Angeles can be put to bed.


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