With the Los Angeles Angels shifting gears in their on-field product and doing what they can to shed salary, their main focus, aside from Shohei Ohtani and his free agency, is set on the future of the team.
Placing a handful of players on waivers this past week put them close to the luxury tax threshold of $233 million. However, the belief is they’ll do what they can to creep their way under the mark to avoid paying a percentage on every future dollar spent.
The main goal with that is to help their draft pick status should Ohtani leave the team. Should he reject the Angels’ qualifying offer, their second round pick would be pushed to the fourth round if they’re unable to get under the collective bargaining tax.
Looking ahead to Ohtani’s free agency, his options will remain open, and because of his latest elbow injury, some teams may shy away from the overall value of a deal. Regardless, there will still be a robust market for the superstar, although the Angels aren’t likely to have an inside track at retaining his services, per Sam Blum of the Athletic:
It’s interesting, because he’s an employee of the Angels. He’s playing for the Angels. So of course, when there’s decisions being made about this season, I’m consulting with the Angels front office. When it comes to further decisions and things like that, out of respect to them, they’ll be in the know. But they don’t necessarily have the pulse on all of that to make the decisions for us.
The disconnect between Ohtani and the team over his injury is one of many pieces to the puzzle, another is his desire to pitch according to his own plan. His ascension from where he was upon first signing with the Angels to where he is now are night & day situations.
Ohtani was on another MVP run of play in 2023, and he very well may capture his second award. But another failed season without a playoff berth, put a sour bow on a six-year run.
Shohei Ohtani believed he was ‘good to go’ despite Angels’ ask for imaging on right-arm
The Angels’ concerns over Ohtani’s injured right elbow have taken over his season. One of the early signs of the intrigue came when the Angels offered for Ohtani to have an MRI in August, but he declined.
Ohtani made one more start after facing the San Francisco Giants on Aug. 9, but what forced to come out of his Aug. 23 outing against the Cincinnati Reds after 1.1 innings pitched.
Although there’s some serious belief he’ll end up requiring surgery, there hasn’t been definitive talk.
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