It’s no secret the 2021 season did not go as planned for the Los Angeles Angels, and several members of the organization are beginning to speak out about what went wrong and how the team can improve going forward.
Manager Joe Maddon sent a clear message to the front office last week about needing to improve the roster in the offseason, to which general manager Perry Minasian understood and did not take offense to.
More recently, Angels two-way star Shohei Ohtani revealed he has enjoyed his time with the organization thus far but that winning will be his top priority when he reaches free agency after the 2023 season.
Minasian appreciated Ohtani’s honesty and believes every player on the team feels the same way with regard to wanting to win, via Jeff Fletcher of the Southern California News Group:
“Nobody wants to play on a losing team,” the Angels general manager said from the visitors’ dugout on Tuesday afternoon at Globe Life Field. “That’s something that I would expect everybody to say. Not shocking at all. As far as the winter that doesn’t change anything.”
“I appreciate what they said,” Minasian said. “I liked the fact that, obviously, Mike and Sho, they want to win. Those aren’t the only two players that want to win. There’s plenty of guys on this team currently, and I’m sure if you ask any player on any team, would say the same thing.”
While some felt Ohtani’s comments were alarming and perhaps foreshadowing of potentially signing elsewhere as a free agent, Maddon does not believe that is the case:
“We all feel the same way,” Maddon said. “We all want to win. And I think anybody who misconstrues that as though he wants to leave, that’s trying to connect some dots that were not at all what he has said.”
Ohtani’s frustration of not yet getting to play in the postseason is warranted, but by no means does that suggest he is ready to give up on the Angels.
Ohtani simply wants the team to be in a better position to contend next year, which the likes of Maddon and Mike Trout have previously echoed.
Although his fourth season with the Angels won’t end with a trip to the playoffs, Ohtani can take solace in the fact that he has put together arguably the greatest individual campaign in MLB history.
Ohtani entered play Wednesday batting .256/.370/.592 with 25 doubles, seven triples, 45 home runs, 98 RBI and 24 stolen bases in 616 plate appearances across 150 games.
On the pitching side, Ohtani owns a 9-2 record with a 3.18 ERA, 3.50 FIP and 1.09 WHIP with 156 strikeouts against 44 walks in 130.1 innings (23 starts).
Anonymous MVP voters have Ohtani ranked above Guerrero
As Ohtani puts the finishing touches on a historic season, several anonymous MVP voters unsurprisingly have him ranked above the Toronto Blue Jays’ Vladimir Guerrero Jr. in the race.