The Los Angeles Angels shifting gears and transitioning into a sell-off mode did a few things for the franchise before the end of the season. General manager Perry Minasian initiated a few moves to clear salary, while taking the necessary steps to accommodate the growing list of injury concerns with superstar Shohei Ohtani.
In early August, the talk with the two-way player were centered around a fatigue aspect, which prompted the team to push him back for scheduled starts. It was they discovered he had a tear in his ulnar collateral ligament (UCL).
Reports came out that Ohtani had turned down offers from the Angels to undergo an MRI of his right elbow which would have revealed the injury. Unfortunately, the only option that can provide the best long-term outcome is surgery, which is now being heavily considered, per Sam Blum of the Athletic:
I think it’s inevitable that there is going to be some type of procedure. OK? What that procedure looks like and when, and the type of procedure is what we’re gathering right now. Clearly, there’s been multiple opinions. And we’re not just banking on one or two. We’re really trying to educate ourselves on this situation.
This all comes in the midst of another stellar season for the 29-year-old, but with a franchise player’s health on the line, the only focus should be on making sure he’s physically able to perform at his best. Angels officials have wrestled with the teetering nature of the season, and the understanding that Ohtani is in a difficult spot:
Perry (Minasian) went on record and said that we had a tear. And we do. But it’s completely different than last time. Last time was way up top, the farthest area that you can get on top. And this one is about as low as you can get. So it’s completely different.
Ohtani is slated to become one of the most sought-after free agents in Major League Baseball history. His ability to hit at an MVP level, while pitch like a Cy Young is as rare as they come.
However, the Angels are in an odd predicament, but if they’d like to be a piece to Ohtani’s future and have him return in free agency—their early knowledge of what he needs medically is paramount.
Angels paying luxury tax won’t impact next season
Minasian’s moves quickly backfired, and after the worst month in franchise history — by run differential — they opted to waive players in an attempt to save money.
Lucas Giolito, Matt Moore, Reynaldo López, Hunter Renfroe and Dominic Leone were waived and claimed, saving the Angels almost enough money to get back below the luxury tax threshold.
They recently placed catcher Max Stassi on the restricted list, which could also save them a bit of money, as well.
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