The looming contract situation surrounding two-way phenom Shohei Ohtani will continue throughout the season, and with owner Arte Moreno maintaining ownership of the Los Angeles Angels, an extension should be high on his list of priorities.
Since coming into Major League Baseball in 2018, Ohtani has singlehanded changed the modern outlook on what a baseball player can do. After winning the Rookie of the Year, a Most Valuable Player Award in 2021, and nearly repeating this past season, the extent of his talent is unlike anything seen for decades.
In just five seasons, Ohtani has posted a career 139 OPS+ with 237 homers and 342 RBI, on the mound, he holds a 2.96 ERA while notching 441 strikeouts in 349.2 innings pitched. Now entering the final year of his deal, Moreno expressed his desire to keep his prized player on the team, via Jon Heyman of the New York Post:
“I’d like to keep Ohtani,” Moreno told The Post at the MLB owners meetings here. “He’s one of a kind, He’s a great person. He’s obviously one of the most popular baseball players in the world, and he’s an international star. He’s a great teammate. He works hard. He’s a funny guy, and he has a really good rapport with fans.”
As recent as October of last year, Ohtani was at the top of MLB’s earners in off-the-field endorsements, raking in $20 million annually before taxes and fees. His value to the Angels and MLB reaches far beyond the diamond, but Moreno acknowledged his meaning to the clubhouse and all that comes with the 28-year-old:
“He fits in well with what we do,” Moreno said, while praising Ohtani’s desire to play every day. “We’re in the entertainment business. We want fans to be able to come to the ballpark and have a great experience.”
The Angels and Ohtani avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year deal worth $30 million to cover all of 2023. Some speculate that Ohtani could become baseball’s first $500 million contract man, and with his talent as a two-way player, it could be justified if he’s able to maintain this high level of play.
2022 Shohei Ohtani player review
Overall, he missed out on a repeat MVP Award due to the historic season from New York Yankees’ slugger Aaron Judge, but he was still named to the 2022 All-MLB Team.
It was the second straight season Ohtani made the list as both a pitcher (First Team All-MLB) and as a hitter (Second Team All-MLB). He’s been an All-MLB Team selection four times in his career, which is tied with Los Angeles Dodgers first basemen Freddie Freeman, who has been selected in all four years of voting for this honor.
On the season, Ohtani hit .273/.356/.519 with 34 homers, 30 doubles, 11 stolen bases, and 95 RBIs in 157 games, and on the mound, he went 15-9 with a 2.33 ERA and 219 strikeouts over 166 innings in 28 starts this season.
Make sure to follow Angels Nation on Twitter for all the latest news and updates surrounding the Halos!