If the Los Angeles Angels are looking to keep Shohei Ohtani past this season, the 2022 campaign certainly didn’t do much to show him why he should stay with the franchise.
Shohei Ohtani had a “rather negative impression” of the 2022 Los Angeles Angels season
Speaking with reporters in Tokyo, Ohtani was asked about his season with the Los Angeles Angels and the 28-year-old MVP candidate didn’t hold back on his disappointment on the team’s performance. The Angels finished with a 73-89 record, 33.0 games behind the Houston Astros in the American League West.
"“I have to say that August and September in particular felt longer to me than last year,” Ohtani said, speaking in Japanese. “We were not able to play as many good games as we would like — including 14 consecutive losses. So I have a rather negative impression of this season.”"
Scheduled to be a free agent after this season, Ohtani was surrounded by trade rumors in July and August before the Angels announced they were no longer listening to any offers. The New York Yankees, San Diego Padres, and Chicago White Sox were among the teams that submitted trade proposals to the Angels, and would likely be considered among the many suitors for Ohtani again at the 2023 MLB trade deadline if the Angels and Ohtani can’t come to an agreement.
In the midst of his prime, Ohtani will likely give free agency strong consideration, especially if the Angels can’t figure out a way to win with him and future Hall of Famer Mike Trout in the lineup. Angels management has said the team wants to keep Ohtani “for a long time,” but will Ohtani agree that the Halos are the best spot for him?
If August and September “felt longer” for Ohtani this season than last year, don’t be surprised if Ohtani will want to find somewhere where those games matter and he’s in the middle of a battle for a postseason spot. If the Angels can’t show that kind of mettle early in the season, it could be a very interesting 2023 MLB trade deadline.