Heading into the offseason, many had the expectation that Shohei Ohtani trade rumors would be one of the most heavily discussed items on the hot stove. Angels general manager Perry Minasian attempted to throw cold water on that earlier this week, saying that .
Ohtani, the Angels' two-way phenom and 2021 AL MVP, is set to hit free agency after next season, absent a contract extension. Judging from the comments made by Ohtani's agent Nez Balelo this week at the general manager meetings, an extension with the Angels doesn't sound very likely. Via the L.A. Times:
"We haven't really given that a lot of thought because we are just focused on the one year, which we accomplished and that's what we did," Balelo of CAA said after being asked during the general manager meetings Tuesday whether they would be open to having extension discussions during spring training or in the middle of the season. "So to be honest with you, that's our main focus.
"Now that we have that over and behind us, we're comfortable with the one-year deal and we're just going to kind of focus on that right now."
Ohtani will make $30 million next season.
After winning MVP in 2021 by hitting like a superstar DH and pitching like a frontline starter, Ohtani put up another jaw-dropping two-way performance in 2022. He hit .273/.356/.519 (145 OPS+) with 30 doubles, six triples, 34 homers, 95 RBI, 90 runs and 11 stolen bases. He also went 15-9 with a 2.33 ERA (172 ERA+), 1.01 WHIP and 219 strikeouts against 44 walks in 166 innings on the mound.
In many two-year stretches, these performances would have him lined up for back-to-back MVPs. Aaron Judge had an outrageous season, however, and seems poised to take AL MVP this time around with Ohtani likely having to settle for runner-up.
Still, there's no doubting Ohtani's stature as the best all-around player in baseball. He's sort of two players in one. There has also been plenty of talk about how he wants to play for a winning team. The Angels haven't been to the playoffs since 2014 or had a winning record since 2015. They were 77-85 in 2021 and 73-89 this season.
For now, it seems like all roads point to just one year with the Angels and then free agency, but things can change.