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Angels Will Keep Ohtani, Make a Playoff Push

("Shohei Ohtani on July 8, 2022 (1)" by Mogami Kariya on Flickr (Original version) UCinternational (Crop) is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.)

July 26, 2023

Morgan Killian-Moseley

It appears the Shohei Ohtani Sweepstakes are off... for now.

Sports Illustrated tweeted tonight that a source close to the Los Angeles Angels told S.I. contributor and Fox Sports/MLB Network analyst Tom Verducci that they are no longer listening to offers for the two-way sensation; and will attempt to make a playoff push. Another source echoed those thoughts to's Mark Feinsand, saying the Angels "are in Buy Mode."

UPDATE: The Angels made what is expected to be the first of many moves late tonight, as they bolstered their pitching staff by acquiring right-handed starting pitcher Lucas Giolito and righty reliever Reynaldo Lopez from the Chicago White Sox for catcher Edgar Quero and lefthander Ky Bush.

The Angels currently sit four games behind the Toronto Blue Jays for the third American League Wild Card berth. They can use plenty of help around Ohtani in the batting order, especially with Mike Trout on the I.L. with a broken hamate bone.

It's likely the Halos are taking this path in the hopes of persuading Ohtani to stay in Anaheim after this season. Ohtani is due to become a free agent after this season, and there are rumors that he may receive the first billion-dollar contract in sports history. If the Angels can find a way to earn their first playoff berth since 2014, it would go a long way towards them retaining Ohtani's services. Even remaining competitive into late September will give Angels fans a sliver of hope that Ohtani will stay.

The risk, of course, is that whether the team makes the playoffs or not Ohtani may still decide to sign somewhere else in free agency, and the Halos would have let a generational talent (and that's looking like an understatement) walk for nothing. This scenario would be devastating for the franchise, as it would undoubtedly cause attendance at the Big A (and, more importantly to owner Arte Moreno, the team's profit margin) to plummet, which would cause heads to roll throughout the organization.

Keeping Ohtani makes this a make-or-break season for the Angels. All eyes will be on Orange County to see what other moves the Halos make before Monday's trade deadline, and whether those moves will be enough to get them to October- and enough to convince Ohtani to continue wearing number 17 for them in 2024 and beyond.


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