For Los Angeles Angels general manager Perry Minasian, there hasn’t been a bigger decision in his career than the future of Shohei Ohtani as he heads into the final year of his current deal.
The Angels locked Ohtani up to a one-year, $30 million contract for the 2023 season, avoiding what would’ve been a rather intriguing arbitration case. His deal makes him the third-highest-paid Angels player behind Anthony Rendon ($38.6M) and Mike Trout ($37.1M).
Ohtani put up another incredible season in 2022, stated his case for a repeat Most Valuable Player award, and put him in the Top-2 finalists alongside Aaron Judge of the New York Yankees. Minasian has maintained a sturdy stance on the availability of the two-way star in trades, and after some chatter at the deadline, he’s reassured the club’s view that they will not move him.
The GM meetings that kicked off in Las Vegas on Tuesday, Minasian got ahead of the event and made a statement on his generational player, via Sam Blum of The Athletic:
“That’s the biggest reason,” Minasian said, referring to why the Angels are keeping Ohtani. “I think we’re closer than what our record might show to competing.”
The Angels finished 73-89, coming in third place behind the Seattle Mariners, and the World Series Champion, Houston Astros. But Minasian is probably referencing the pool of top-end talent his organization has at the front of their roster.
Because prior to the season imploding upon itself before the All-Star break, which included a franchise-record losing streak, and the firing of Joe Maddon, the Angels actually had a run where they were playing like one of the best teams in baseball.
From Opening Day through May 24, one day before their losing streak, the Angels sat in second place in the American League West, with a record of 27-17 and had the most runs scored in the AL.
Through the rest of the season, their starting rotation had some moving parts, but overall, they have one of the more promising groups they’ve had in many years. Ohtani does nothing but elevate this team, he’d do that anywhere, but the main factor is putting it all together and becoming a real contender while having two of the best players ever in Ohtani and Mike Trout.
Perry Minasian operating ‘as usual’ in offseason with ownership uncertainty
With the Angels season ending early yet again, Minasian sat down with the media after the year to discuss another disappointment. Of their eight years missing the playoffs consecutively, 2022 may be the worst of them.
Regardless of the club’s hot start through May 24, the Halos crashed and burned from there, going 25-56 over their next 81 games, putting themselves firmly out of the postseason race. In the middle of it all, Angels owner Arte Moreno announced he would look to sell the team in the offseason, a process that is now expected to ramp up.
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