Angels Rumors: Shohei Ohtani Trade ‘Barely Got Off The Ground’
MLB: Oakland Athletics at Los Angeles Angels
Kiyoshi Mio-USA TODAY Sports

While the Los Angeles Angels did wind up making three moves at the MLB trade deadline, they received the most attention for the move they didn’t make. That move was trading — or more correct, not trading — two-way superstar Shohei Ohtani.

In the weeks leading up to the deadline, rumors began swirling that Ohtani could leave the team in free agency at the end of the 2023 season. This, of course, led to talks that the Angels might consider dealing Ohtani. And at one point, they were even said to be listening to offers.

However, as expected, the Angels reportedly never had any actual intention of dealing Ohtani. For Angels owner Arte Moreno, even listening to offers was a stretch, according to Jon Heyman of The New York Post:

The Shohei Ohtani trade never had a chance. Word is Angels owner Arte Moreno didn’t even want to hear offers, so talks barely got off the ground.

Moreno told folks in his front office he simply could not trade Ohtani while Mike Trout and Anthony Rendon were out with injuries.

The Angels hid behind injuries last season as well, when Ohtani was forced to carry a mediocre roster for most of the season as Trout and Rendon were on the IL. The story is repeating itself in 2022, leading to criticism from opposing executives.

“In fourteen months, he’s out the door,” one rival exec predicted of Ohtani. “And once he’s out the door, he’s never coming back.”

Any quote like this, though, needs to be taken with a grain of salt. It was likely said by an executive who would love to acquire Ohtani in a trade. Therefore, it could come from a place of bitterness that he was not traded, or an attempt to place further pressure on the Angels organization.

If it’s the latter, then mission accomplished. Perhaps no team in all of baseball has more pressure to build a contender in 2023 than the Angels. If they can’t at least get to a Wild Card spot in 2023, they risk losing Ohtani for nothing in the offseason.

Then, they’ll have to reset around a 32-year old Mike Trout and 33-year old Anthony Rendon, both of whom have had significant injury issues in recent years. Trading them will be difficult, and winning with them would be just as futile.

Angels expect Trout to play in 2022

After reports of Trout’s rare back condition began swirling, fans immediately believed that the superstar would miss yet another massive chunk of the season. However, recent comments from Trout and the Angels tell a different story.

They believe that he is progressing extremely well, and is about to begin swinging a bat. This means that a return this season is not only likely, but imminent.

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