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HomeSportAngels missed their best chance to trade Shohei Ohtani

Angels missed their best chance to trade Shohei Ohtani


The non-contending Angels did well to trade Noah Syndergaard and Raisel Iglesias, but reality is about to hit: Their chances to keep Shohei Ohtani long-term appear poor.

Word is Ohtani — having a second straight MVP-type season — will surely seek to become the first $50 million (or more) player as a 2024 free agent, and considering his amazing achievements, he deserves to be the game’s best-paid player, as the sport’s true triple threat (hitting, pitching, marketing).

Meanwhile, the Angels’ best chance to restock the farm system just passed. Half the teams or more checked in on Ohtani, with all willing to trade top prospects for 1 ¹/₂ years of the two-way mega-star. However, talks didn’t go far, as Angels owner Arte Moreno emphatically halted them with a day-plus to go.

The Yankees were not alone among teams telling the Angels, in effect, just tell us which prospects you want. The bold Padres showed keen interest, as Padres GM A.J. Preller said on The Post podcast “The Show,” adding that some of the prospects discussed were different than the ones that went in the Juan Soto mega-trade (but you can imagine the value was probably similar). However, Ohtani trade talks barely got started before they were halted.

Folks around the Angels believe there was one real hope to do the right thing — which is trade Ohtani now — and that was only if he definitively said he wanted out. But that hope dissipated when he was noncommittal in public comments the day after The Post reported the Angels were going to investigate trading him.

Los Angeles Angels' Shohei Ohtani jogs to the dugout
The Angels could have restocked their farm system by trading Shohei Ohtani at the deadline, but missed their best chance to do so.
AP Photo

Had Ohtani said he wanted out, that may have given Moreno the opening to truly consider trading arguably baseball’s best player. Ohtani is thought to like the Angels, who’ve allowed him to do his unique thing. However, Ohtani surely seeks to finally be paid fairly after four-plus years of mostly charity work (his $5M salary is MLB average), and there’s little belief the Angels will go there.

The Angels have been unable to win with Ohtani severely underpaid, and if his salary rises tenfold — with star Mike Trout and the overpaid Anthony Rendon on the books — that leaves little room to stay under the luxury-tax threshold, a hallmark of Moreno’s teams.

Ohtani wants to win, and that gets even harder in Anaheim if they pay him his true value. Informal extension talks in spring went nowhere. They will try again, but he may wind up on the block for real this winter, if Moreno surprises us and relents.

Moreno ordered a dumping of some big salaries late on deadline day, and GM Perry Minasian did well to be rid of Syndergaard, Iglesias and their salaries. The interest was limited in Thor — beyond the Phillies, there was the Blue Jays. Meantime, the Yankees and Mets both pursued the high-priced Iglesias, but others were willing to pay all of the $50M left, and Minasian sent him to the Braves, receiving lefty Tucker Davidson, who started Game 5 of the World Series. It’s a start, anyway.

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