Shohei Ohtani's long-term future with the Los Angeles Angels is uncertain, but people around Major League Baseball are skeptical he will be traded before hitting free agency after next season.
Per The Athletic's Jayson Stark, one anonymous executive predicted Ohtani won't be dealt by the Angels because owner Arte Moreno is "afraid to ever trade him."
There were rumblings leading up to the Aug. 2 trade deadline that Ohtani could be on the block.
Per Jon Heyman of the New York Post and MLB Network, the New York Yankees, San Diego Padres and Chicago White Sox were among the teams that called the Angels to make an offer for the reigning American League MVP.
The Angels rejected those overtures in order to keep Ohtani for the rest of 2022.
"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 about the trade rumors on July 29. "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."
There will be mounting pressure on the Angels to make a decision on Ohtani, one way or another, during the offseason and leading up to the trade deadline in 2023.
Ohtani has one more year of team control remaining. The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal reported in June that Angels officials met with Ohtani's representatives in spring training about an extension and "expressed an understanding" any deal would need to surpass Max Scherzer's $43.3 million per season as the highest average annual salary in MLB.
Even if the Angels retain Ohtani going into next season, their roster will likely need a significant overhaul in order to compete for a playoff spot.
Mike Trout is still great when healthy, but the three-time AL MVP only played in 36 games last season due to a strained calf. He is currently on the injured list with a back injury that he will likely have to manage for the rest of his career.
As great as Trout and Ohtani have been throughout their careers, the Angels are on the verge of posting their seventh consecutive losing season. They haven't had a winning record since 2015 (85-77) and last made the postseason in 2014.
Trading Ohtani could potentially bring back a massive prospect haul that would allow the Angels to kickstart a roster rebuild. But it would also require them to trade arguably the best player in MLB.
Ohtani has posted a .258/.352/.508 slash line with 24 homers, 64 RBI and 11 stolen bases in 380 at-bats as a hitter. The 28-year-old also has a 2.83 ERA with 152 strikeouts in 105 innings over 18 starts as a pitcher.