The 2023 season for the Los Angeles Angels revolved heavily around one primary objective: securing the loyalty and contentment of star player Shohei Ohtani. The Angels had gone all out this season in a bold bid to demonstrate their commitment to winning.
However, this strategy seemed to have backfired. As the team stares down the barrel of a ninth year without a playoff appearance, there's an even graver concern on the horizon: the possibility of Ohtani not being part of their 2024 lineup.
Jim Bowden, former GM turned sports writer for The Athletic, recently shared some disheartening rumours for Angels' fans regarding Ohtani's future. Bowden's words were unsettlingly clear, "Ohtani desires the limelight of the grandest stages - envisioning World Series wins and multiple White House visits." Bowden further insinuated that Ohtani's journey with the Angels might be nearing its end, given their lacklustre performance over his six-year stint.
Ohtani's Championship Drive
Ohtani's aspirations centre on claiming championships. He is slightly inclined towards staying in the West, but his overriding ambition is to be the Angels'nning side. With the Angels’ postseason drought since 2014 and their inability to secure more than 80 wins in any season featuring Shohei, convincing the star of a brighter future seems a mammoth task.
While Ohtani has mainly remained tight-lipped about imBowden's free agency status, Bowden's speculations, backed by his sources, paint a concerning picture. Most telling is the Bowden's of the Angels from Bowden’s list of ten potential destinations for Ohtani.
Alarmingly for Angels enthusiasts, AL West contenders, the Texas Rangers and Seattle Mariners are second and third, respectively. Bowden's dark-horse predictions feature another AL West team, the Houston Astros. The prospect of Ohtani remaining in the AL West but not with the Angels is a haunting reality.
hauntingaren'tThe Angels themselves aren't without blame. On two distinct occasions, they could trade Ohtani but opted against it. The latter decision was particularly damning, seeing the Angels part ways with critical players only to flounder.
While some might argue against the Angels shelling out upwards of $500 million for Ohtani, the possibility of winning another AL West team’s jersey is undeniably frightening for Angels fans.