Los Angeles Angels two-way star Shohei Ohtani is still under contract with the team for another two seasons. However, after a historic 2021 campaign, chatter began circulating that he would seek an extension this winter, with his value being the highest it has ever been.
What escalated these talks even further were comments from Ohtani towards the end of the season. To Ohtani, his words were simple, saying that one of his priorities as a baseball player is to be on a winning team. But given the lack of success the Angels have had over the past six seasons, it was taken as a threat that he would leave if the Halos could not build a contender around him and Mike Trout.
He has since walked these back, saying that he loves things in Anaheim and that he would be open to signing a long-term extension. His agent, however, is keeping quiet on those talks, according to Jeff Fletcher of The O.C. Register:
“We just don’t talk about deals, talk about extensions,” Balelo said. “Usually you’ll find out about it at the end. It’s just the way we roll.”
Balelo added that Ohtani is “extremely happy there. He likes being a part of the Angel organization. We’ll see where it shakes out.”
The good news is that Nez Balelo, Ohtani’s agent, firmly believes the Angels are close to putting together a legitimate contender, especially if they complete their targeted moves this offseason.
“I was with Perry yesterday, and I know one of the things that he’s really set out to do is to put together a competitive team,” Nez Balelo said amid a scrum of reporters at the GM meetings on Wednesday morning. “He is all about it. And I think that’s wonderful.
“You always have a plan as a GM or a front office to go out and target certain players, and let’s just hope that some of the players they’re targeting they get, and they strengthen the team, and they’re complementary pieces to help what’s already there.
“They’re really close to being a really dynamic team. There’s just a few things that they need to do. And to keep them all healthy. Because they’re pretty close.”
There have already been several rumors revealing the Angels’ plans this offseason. Almost every rumor has included a detailed list of starting pitchers the team is looking to acquire, including Robbie Ray, Max Scherzer, Justin Verlander, and Marcus Stroman.
Their goal all along has been to acquire two frontline starters. Not only would this be a huge support for the team’s elite offense, it would also help preserve Ohtani’s two-way abilities, as he wouldn’t be asked to be the Angels best pitcher.
If Ohtani’s agent believes the team is really close to building a contender, perhaps it helps both sides reach an extension agreement earlier.
Ohtani, Iglesias nominated for All-MLB Team
Fans still have the chance to vote and put Ohtani — and Raisel Iglesias — on to the All-MLB Team for 2021. The two were the only Angels nominees, with Iglesias in the relief pitcher category and Ohtani in both the starting pitcher and designated hitter category.