Angels general manager Perry Minasian informed reporters tonight that the two-way superstar Shohei Ohtani will open the 2023 season in Anaheim (via Sarah Valenzuela of the Los Angeles Times). According to Minasian, the Angels did not consider trading Ohtani.
That’s an entirely unsurprising sentiment, as the Angels are unlikely to ever be able to move the 2021 AL MVP.
Despite what was sure to be big interest this past summer’s trading deadline, Los Angeles took Ohtani off the market almost immediately. Later reports indicated that owner Arte Moreno directed his main office not to trade All-Star twice.
A few weeks later, Moreno announced that he was exploring the possibility of selling the franchise. That process is said to have been underway at the time of the deal’s expiration, and the ability to market the listings powered by Ohtani to potential buyers is said to have played a role in the owners’ minds.
Not much is known about the sales process lately, though New York Post’s Jon Heyman reiterated last week that Moreno plans to make the purchase.
The sale exploration can take most or all of the compensatory time off, leaving the franchise in a state of uncertainty.
The Halos are having a 73-89 season that marks their seventh consecutive campaign below average. Anaheim fired Joe Maddon mid-season and replaced him with Phil Nevin, but the manager swap failed to revive a team that had collapsed after a strong first month and a half.
Minasian and his office staff will embark on trying to build a core led by Ohtani and Mike Trout.
Halos has a promising front four rotation in Ohtani, Patrick Sandoval, Reid Detmers and Jose Suarezbut they lack bullpen depth and don’t have much certainty in the lineup beyond Trout, Ohtani and to a lesser extent the right puncher Taylor Ward.
How much money Moreno is willing to allocate to build a squad that looks like he will part ways in the coming months is a question that persists into the season.
The Angels opened the 2022 season with a salary in the range of $188M, per Cot’s Baseball Contract. Including projected salaries for players eligible to serve as referees, the Halos have about $145.5 million in commitment on next year’s books.
That includes wages equal to or exceeding $30 million per Anthony RendonSalmon and Ohtani.
The second commitment was agreed last month, when the Angels and Ohtani agreed 30 million dollar deal for his final season in control of the club. That set the record for the largest salary for a player qualifying as a referee in major league history, quickly raising any possibility that the parties would come to a hearing on his 2023 salary. ta.
There is no indication that they have recently discussed a longer-term deal, and Ohtani is now well on his way to becoming the top free agent in next winter’s class.
Minasian and company certainly want to keep the unique talent in Orange County in the long run, but it remains to be seen whether the 28-year-old is eager to enter renewal negotiations given the current uncertainty. of the franchise or not.
Fans of other teams will no doubt be hoping the Angels change course in their fight against Ohtani, perhaps pointing to the other franchise currently on sale as an example.
National GM Mike Rizzo set a record in June to say the team won’t trade Juan Sotobut they reconsidered and ultimately moved him on the deadline after Soto rejected what proved to be their last long-term extension offer.
That said, it’s often rare to hear a baseball operations leader officially close the book on any potential roster maneuvers, and now it should come as a bigger surprise than ever. if Ohtani wears anything other than an Angel uniform on Opening Day.