Shohei Ohtani remaining an Angel was always the likeliest outcome, but that doesn’t mean baseball fans need to like it

Photo credit:© Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
David Quadrelli
9 months ago
Future Blue Jay. Future Dodger. Future Mariner. Future Yankee.
Nearly every fanbase had themselves convinced to some extent that their team might make a trade for Shohei Ohtani ahead of Major League Baseball’s August 2nd trade deadline.
But instead, news broke on Wednesday afternoon that the Los Angeles Angels intended to keep their two-way superstar, who is set to become a free agent this offseason. That news was followed shortly thereafter with reports that the Angels had acquired starting pitcher Lucas Giolito and right-handed reliever Reynaldo Lopez from the Chicago White Sox, sending their second and third-best prospects back the other way.
This was always the likeliest outcome. Our friends over at Betano had Ohtani remaining an Angel as the most likely outcome by a considerable margin prior to Wednesday’s news, so while this certainly didn’t come out of left field, it doesn’t mean that baseball fans need to like it.
The Angels, who sit four games back of the Toronto Blue Jays for the final AL Wild Card spot, have made it crystal clear that not only are they not giving up Shohei Ohtani, they’re going to try to load up around him and punch their ticket to the postseason while they still have perhaps the best player to ever play the game.
While that will be an intriguing push to watch over the final stretch of the season, it doesn’t mean that baseball fans need to be excited that Shohei Ohtani is going to remain an Angel through the trade deadline. Wanting him on their favourite team aside, baseball fans have already watched the Angels waste away the prime years of Mike Trout’s career, and they are currently watching the same thing happen with Ohtani. Essentially, the less time Ohtani remains an Angel, the better.
Not only would a Shohei trade have dominated the headlines on August 2nd and the days that follow, the pieces the Angels would have acquired in return would have been analyzed and discussed for years to come. And maybe that’s why the Angels ultimately didn’t pull the trigger on a deal after fielding offers. How can you not come out on the losing end of a trade involving a player so rare that he’s quite literally changed the game? The short answer is: you can’t.
That doesn’t mean the Angels shouldn’t have still done it, though. They’re now running the risk of being known as the team that gave up valuable prospects in order to make a push for the postseason only to still come up short and lose Shohei Ohtani in the process once free agency opens up. That has to be a nightmare scenario for the Angels, but it’s one they’ve willingly made very possible.
The other thing to consider is if adding Giolito and Lopez will even be enough to propel them into a playoff spot. They still have time to make more moves obviously, but if this is all the Angels plan to do, are they really going to be able to leapfrog teams like the Blue Jays, Astros, or the red-hot Red Sox, who are just 1.5 games back of the Jays for the final Wild Card spot following four straight wins?
While the baseball world waits until the winter to find out where Shohei Ohtani will land, the Angels will do their very best to punch their ticket to the dance and perhaps even entice the Japanese superstar to stay in Los Angeles following a postseason run — something Ohtani has yet to experience in an Angels uniform.
But if they don’t, then more of Ohtani’s talent has simply gone to waste, and that is simply not good for the game of baseball.


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