As the Los Angeles Angels play out the final week of the regular season, they will soon turn their attention to the most important offseason in franchise history. Shohei Ohtani is set to become a free agent, and the two-way star has given no indication on what his plans might be.
Ohtani was in the midst of an unworldly season before a UCL injury robbed him of another month’s worth of starts on the mound. The generational talent continued to play through September 3 as the Angels’ designated hitter until an oblique injury sidelined him for the rest of the year.
Despite the injuries, Ohtani is still the clear favorite to win American League MVP honors. And while he is unlikely to pitch next season after undergoing elbow surgery, the 29-year-old will have no shortage of suitors in free agency.
Mike Trout admitted he has not heard from Ohtani on whether he will re-sign with the Angels or continue his career elsewhere, per Jeff Fletcher of the Southern California News Group:
“People ask me this all the time, ‘Where is Shohei gonna go?’” Trout said. “I couldn’t tell you. It’s up to him. You gotta ask him. Ultimately it comes down to his decision. He hasn’t said anything to me. He keeps it quiet. Just does his own stuff. As a teammate, just give him his privacy. It’s his decision. He’s gonna do what’s right for him. We’ll see where that goes.”
Ohtani’s upcoming decision will have significant implications for the Angels and what direction they go in. If Ohtani stays, L.A. can continue trying to build a winner around him through free agent signings and trades.
In the event Ohtani leaves, it wouldn’t be surprising to see the Angels enter a full-blown rebuild. That could mean exploring a trade for Mike Trout, who previously said he wants to talk to the front office before even considering the possibility.
Angels’ Mike Trout halted return to ensure health was best to ‘clear my mind’
The Angels recently transferred Trout to the 60-day injured list, which officially ended his 2023 season. The 11-time All-Star is now focused on staying healthy this offseason and coming back even stronger next year.