The Los Angeles Angels saga with two-way phenom Shohei Ohtani has continued to evolve as the 2023 season progresses. A fourth-place finish soured what could end up being his last stretch with the team, joining the disappointment of a UCL injury that took him off the mound as a starter.
Now, his season as a hitter has ended as well. Ohtani has missed the team’s last 11 games with an oblique injury, but the belief was he would make a return and it was even hinted it may have been during their most recent series against the Seattle Mariners.
But on Saturday, it was announced that Ohtani would be placed on the IL and miss the remainder of the season as both a pitcher and hitter, meaning the next time he steps on a baseball diamond for a game will be in 2024, after his free agency has concluded.
While in the midst of another MVP-campaign, Ohtani had posted a 10-5 record with a 3.14 ERA, 4.00 FIP, 1.06 WHIP and 11.4 strikeouts per nine in 132 innings pitched (23 starts). His .304/.412/.654 slash with 44 home runs, 95 RBI and 20 stolen bases carried the Angels offense.
This news was hinted at on Friday when Ohtani cleared out his locker at Angel Stadium, a typical procedure for a player who will no longer play in a season.
Shohei Ohtani has cleared out his locker in the #Angels clubhouse.
The Angels say they will have no information on what has happened until tomorrow.
— Jeff Fletcher (@JeffFletcherOCR) September 16, 2023
The frustration from another lost season without a postseason appearance, an exodus of talent to the waiver wire in an effort to get under the luxury tax, are all appearing to come to a head. Team officials will have more to say on Saturday on what the circumstances of Ohtani are.
An announcement of a UCL surgery is the likely scenario, but the Angels have been known to shock the news cycle before.
Angels aren’t privy to Shohei Ohtani and his future plans
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.
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 and the Angels aren’t expected to have each other in mind when being the first options when discussing long-term contracts.
Make sure to follow Angels Nation on Twitter for all the latest news and updates surrounding the Halos!