The biggest question regarding the 2023 MLB trade deadline has been centered around if the Los Angeles Angels would become buyers or sellers, which would have made Shohei Ohtani the best available player if the club decided to rebuild.
Ohtani is set to become a free agent after the season and the belief around the league is he’s unlikely to re-sign with the Angels, backed by multiple comments the two-way superstar has made about his desire to win. Although the Angels are only four games out of a Wild Card spot, they face tough competition ahead of them and have a roughly 16% chance to make the postseason.
The Angels would have a hard time trading Ohtani for a few reasons, but according to Tom Verducci of Sports Illustrated, they have stopped listening to offers for him and will play out the rest of the season with the superstar on their roster:
Shohei Ohtani is off the trade market. After fielding various trade offers for Ohtani and holding internal discussions the past two days, the Angels decided late Wednesday afternoon not only to hold Ohtani but also to be buyers in advance of the Aug. 1 trade deadline, according to a source familiar with the club’s decision.
The Angels have been in a tough position this year. This season represents their last chance to convince Ohtani to sign a long-term deal, and with him likely moving on at the end of the year, it may have been best for the franchise to acquire a haul of prospects as L.A. has one of the worst farm systems in baseball.
On the other hand, trading a player like Ohtani is unprecedented because there has never been another player like him, and the return would likely never be enough. It would also represent a complete organizational failure to have Ohtani and Mike Trout together for six seasons and never make the playoffs in any of them.
By keeping Ohtani, they at least get one more chance to play October baseball. They are also set to get back Trout from an injury this season, along with Brandon Drury and Logan O’Hoppe, who are both key pieces that have missed significant time.
As the Angels decide to hold onto Ohtani for the remainder of the season, discussions about his future home will be on hold until the offseason.
Angels make a splash by acquiring Lucas Giolito
In addition to keeping Ohtani, the Angels made the first big move prior to the trade deadline by acquiring Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo López from the Chicago White Sox, further confirming the report Ohtani will be staying.
The Angels are hopeful to make the postseason, and this move represents an aggressive decision to back up their hopes.
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