The Los Angeles Angels came into the 2021 season as MLB’s ninth-most valuable team, according to Forbes. Much of that has to do with location, but there’s no denying the star power that has graced the Halos roster over the past decade.
Yes, debates about postseason success — or lack thereof — rightfully dominate the conversation year in and year out, regardless of who is on the roster. But having Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani playing most nights — not to mention All-Stars Anthony Rendon and Jared Walsh — makes for a very marketable team.
Even in a season where Trout missed over 100 games due to a calf strain, he still found a way to be one of the most popular players in baseball. As the 2021 regular season comes to a close, both Ohtani and Trout find themselves in the top-15 for official jersey sales, via Bill Shaikin of The L.A. Times:
Four of the eight best-selling jerseys in MLB were worn by Dodgers players.
— Bill Shaikin (@BillShaikin) October 4, 2021
Ohtani and Trout ranking No. 9 and 13, respectively, makes some semblance of sense. Trout was injured all year and the Angels faded out of the playoff picture by late July. However, on the surface, these numbers feel almost too low for two players with this much impact.
Trout has already cemented his place as baseball’s best player, and has held that title for what feels like more than half a decade. Ranking 13th can be explained away with his injury, but when he missed 50 games in 2017, he still ranked No. 8.
Meanwhile, Ohtani was without a doubt the most marketable player MLB has had in a long time. His name dominated every headline and he was 2021’s face of baseball, even while playing on a team that was plagued by injury and mediocre pitching. No. 9 also appears low.
The L.A. Dodgers made their mark on this year’s jersey sales ranking. They have four players — Mookie Betts (1), Clayton Kershaw (5), Cody Bellinger (6), and Corey Seager (8) — ahead of Ohtani and Trout. The others rounding out the top eight include Ronald Acuna Jr., Fernando Tatis Jr., Javier Baez, and Aaron Judge.
Nolan Arenado, Bryce Harper, and Anthony Rizzo ranked 10-12 respectively.
Ohtani open to contract extension
The Angels still have two more years of team control on Ohtani, but that doesn’t mean they can’t look even further into the future. Following the conclusion of the 2021 season, Ohtani said he would be open to discussing a long-term extension to stay with the Angels, but understands the tricky nature of narrowing down his contract value.