The Los Angeles Angels have been fortunate enough to have Shohei Ohtani in their uniform for five seasons, but without a long-term extension in place, the two-way superstar is headed toward record-breaking money when he hits free agency.
In five years, Ohtani has notched a .886 on-base plus slugging with .237 home runs and 342 RBI at the plate, while on the mound he’s been one of the best starters in all of Major League Baseball. In 349.2 innings pitched he’s posted a 2.96 ERA with 441 strikeouts.
Ohtani’s 2021 showing propelled him into the global spotlight and it led to him winning his first Most Valuable Player award, narrowly missing a back-to-back selection if not for New York Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge having a historic offensive season.
But in the final year of his deal, there haven’t been any reported substantial talks for a long-term contract to stay with the Angels, and Ohtani wants to focus on his season, via Sarah Valenzuela of the L.A. Times:
“I’m really not thinking about free agency right now,” Ohtani said through interpreter Ippei Mizuhara. “I’ve never been a free agent so I don’t know what it feels like. Like I said, I’m focused on the season, I’m not trying to think too far ahead.”
Projections for an Ohtani contract have been in the range of $500 million because of his once-in-a-generation talents, and the Angels will be among every team in the running to retain him on an earth-shattering deal.
They remain hopeful they will be able to sign him, but it’s likely, even all but guaranteed, Ohtani will test the free agent market.
Rival executives give Angels slim chance to retain Shohei Ohtani
Efforts to extend Ohtani have been unsuccessful up to this point, and now that a change in ownership for the foreseeable future is out of the question, hopes for a new chapter were quickly extinguished.
However, Angels owner Arte Moreno gave the green light to add to their top-10 payroll with off-season additions. Trading for Hunter Renfroe and Gio Urshela while signing Brando Drury, Carlos Estevez, Matt Moore and Tyler Anderson were among the moves that bolstered their roster from a pure talent standpoint.
Still, rival executives don’t see the Angels re-signing their star talent.
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