With the recent news that Shohei Ohtani and the Los Angeles Angels agreed to a one-year, $30 million contract to avoid arbitration for the 2023 season, interim manager Phil Nevin gave another ringing endorsement for his superstar player.
The deal provides the Angels with a solid look at what their top-end payroll will look like for next season and with regard to Ohtani, he’s been following up his MVP campaign from 2022 with another incredible year. If not for New York Yankees’ outfielder, Aaron Judge hitting everything out of the ballpark and chasing & setting home run records, Ohtani would be in-line for repeat MVP awards.
Entering the season finale, Ohtani has a .275/.358/.524 slash and a 144 wRC+, including 34 home runs and 95 RBI. But on the mound, he’s lowered his ERA from last year at 3.18 to a 2.35 ERA, 2.44 FIP, and 11.91 strikeouts-per-nine innings.
Nevin recognizes he’s witnessing someone special in an Angels uniform and perhaps one of the all-time greats, via Jeff Fletcher of the O.C. Register:
“He’s the best baseball player I think anybody has ever seen, to be honest,” Nevin said. “I really believe that. All around. I don’t think there’s any argument you can make that he’s not the best baseball player that’s played the game.”
He’s the modern-day Babe Ruth who’s playing against much more superior talent on a daily basis than what Ruth had faced. Not to take anything away, but this era of baseball has never seen anything like what Ohtani is doing and the Angels need to do whatever they can to keep him.
“He’s going to be a free agent after next year, so I would anticipate him having one of the best years of his career,” Nevin said. “Nothing surprises me with him. Whatever he does, next year he might go 40-40 (homers and stolen bases) and win 20. Who knows with him? The sky’s always the limit.”
The bidding war for Ohtani’s services should be vast, with every team vying for him. And they should, because he can help out the pitching staff as an ace, and in the heart of the order in the lineup.
Shohei Ohtani ‘enjoying’ MVP race
Shohei Ohtani flirted with a no-hitter on Sept. 29, which would have turned the sprint for the Most Valuable Player award on its head.
Heading into the top of the eighth inning, Ohtani had been near-perfect. Aside from a walk to lead off the game to Athletic’s second baseman, Tony Kemp, he was as good as it gets.
He induced a pop-out to Max Stassi, then struck out Jordan Diaz for a quick two-outs, but after working a 1-2 count to Conner Capel, Ohtani tried to front-door a cutter and it was knocked to center field. A near no-hitter won’t turn heads, but his overall performance cannot be overlooked.
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