MLB Exec: Shohei Ohtani Should've Been Traded; 'He’s Out the Door' in 14 Months

Adam WellsAugust 5, 2022

John McCoy/Getty Images

At least one executive with a Major League Baseball team believes Shohei Ohtani's days with the Los Angeles Angels are numbered.

Speaking to Jon Heyman of the New York Post and MLB Network, an executive with another team said the Angels should have traded the reigning American League MVP prior to the Aug. 2 deadline because "he’s out the door" when he can become a free agent after next season anyway.

Heyman noted that "a dozen or so teams" called the Angels to inquire about Ohtani, but team owner Arte Moreno "didn’t even want to hear offers" for the 28-year-old superstar.

"Moreno told folks in his front office he simply could not trade Ohtani while Mike Trout and Anthony Rendon were out with injuries," Heyman wrote.

Ohtani's status with the Angels will likely be one of the biggest stories in MLB this offseason. He has one more year of team control before being eligible for free agency after the 2023 season.

Per a June report from The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal, Los Angeles team officials "expressed an understanding" to Ohtani's representatives that it would take an average annual salary surpassing Max Scherzer's record of $43.3 million on an extension to re-sign Ohtani when the two sides had talks during spring training.

There's no indication at this point that the Angels will retain Ohtani, nor has he indicated one way or another a desire to remain with the club.

"I'm with the Angels right now, and I'm very thankful for what they've done," Ohtani told reporters on July 28 amid the trade speculation. "I love my team and my teammates. Right now I'm an Angel, and that's all I can focus on."

The Angels are in a bad position right now, but there is a possibility they improve their roster this offseason. Their 2023 payroll is currently projected to be $103.2 million before factoring in arbitration-eligible players.

If Mike Trout and Anthony Rendon are able to stay healthy next season, putting them with Ohtani is the foundation of an outstanding nucleus. It's certainly a big question if, at this stage of their respective careers, Trout and Rendon can play 140-150 games in a season.

Trout is on the injured list with a back issue that he will have to manage for the rest of his career. Rendon has only played in 103 games since the start of 2021 due to injuries. He had season-ending wrist surgery in June.

Trading Ohtani this offseason would presumably bring the Angels a significant return to start rebuilding their farm system. Heyman noted dealing the two-time All-Star could net the team a haul similar to what the Washington Nationals just got for Juan Soto.

Of course, it's also hard to swallow losing a player of Ohtani's unique capabilities. He's got an .859 OPS and 24 homers as a hitter with a 2.83 ERA and 152 strikeouts as a pitcher this season.

Despite the best efforts of Ohtani, the Angels' 44-61 record is the fourth-worst in the American League. They are on the verge of missing the playoffs for the eighth straight season.


The latest in the sports world, emailed daily.