Posted on: July 27, 2023, 10:27h.
Last updated on: July 27, 2023, 11:44h.
Two-way star Shohei Ohtani from the Los Angeles Angels has been the subject of trade rumors all season. But the Angels will keep the home run leader and starting pitcher.
Ohtani leads the majors with 36 home runs and he's tied for third with 77 RBI. He is posting career numbers at the plate, with a slashline of .299/.398/.668.
As a pitcher, Ohtani is 8-5 with a 3.71 ERA, a 1.12 WHIP, and 148 strikeouts. Opponents are hitting only .195 against him.
The surging Angels (52-49) swept the slumping New Yankees and went on a 6-1 run. The Angels are currently four games out of the American League wild card race and are among a handful of bubble teams.
Sports Illustrated reported that the Angels won't trade Ohtani. ESPN's Buster Olney confirmed the initial report. Instead of trading Ohtani, the Angels want to be a buyer at the upcoming trade deadline, not a seller.
The Angels already made two moves to bolster their pitching staff. They acquired right-hander starter Lucas Giolito and right-handed reliever Reynaldo Lopez from the Chicago White Sox in exchange for two minor leaguers. The Angels parted way with two of their top prospects, catcher Edgar Quero and left-handed pitcher Ky Bush.
Trade Rumors: Yankees, Mets, Padres Eyed Ohtani
The trade deadline is next Tuesday, and there was rampant speculation that the New York Mets, New York Yankees, or San Diego Padres would acquire Ohtani from the Angels. Superstitious Yankees fans thought they had the inside track to landing Ohtani in a trade, and that he could help turn around their injury-plagued season.
Ohtani is in the final year of his current contract and he should fetch the highest contract in MLB history this off-season. Ohtani's new contract will be an estimated $500 million.
Team owner Arturo Moreno stated that the team would consider dealing Ohtani in a trade if the Angels aren't in contention for the playoffs.
Mike Trout, a three-time MVP and 11-time All-Star centerfielder, is out with a fractured wrist. Without Trout in the lineup, the Angels slipped out of the AL wild-card race, which is why the Ohtani trade talks heated up in recent weeks.
Moreno ended speculation by pulling Ohtani off the trade market. The organization thinks it can secure a wild card spot. They have 61 more games to make a run, and Trout is expected to return in mid-August.
To Trade or Not to Trade Ohtani
Ohtani is a once-in-a-generation player and a rare dual-threat star who can excel as a slugger at the plate and thrive as a solid starting pitcher. If the Angels want to win their second championship in franchise history, they'll need Ohtani on the roster.
The Angels didn't exactly build a contender around Ohtani and Trout. Other teams in Southern California — the Los Angeles Dodgers and Padres — made much bigger waves on the free-agent market in the last couple of seasons. The Angels didn't make any major acquisitions to strengthen their team, which is why Ohtani is open to change next season.
The Angels said they will do everything possible to keep Ohtani on the team going forward. However, if Ohtani leaves in free agency, then the Angels will be scrutinized for not trading him at the deadline to get back some assets and minor-league prospects.
Ohtani is the betting favorite to win the AL MVP at -1600 odds. At the start of the season, he was the consensus favorite at +200 odds.
Ohtani finished second in last year's voting behind Aaron Judge from the Yankees. He won the AL MVP in 2021 when he set a career-high with 46 home runs and 100 RBI. Ohtani is on pace to tie Judge's AL home run record, which was set last season with 62 home runs.
Betting the Angels Down the Stretch
The Angels occupy third place in the AL West with a 52-49 record. They trail the first-place Texas Rangers (60-45) by seven games, and they're two games behind the defending World Series champion Houston Astros (58-45) in second place.
The Angels are +2800 odds to win the AL West as the fourth favorite on the MLB futures board. The Rangers are the betting favorite at -105 odds, and they're ahead of the Astros (+100) and Seattle Mariners (+1700)
If the season ended today, the three AL wild-card teams would be the Tampa Bay Rays (62-43), Astros, and Toronto Blue Jays (57-49).
The Angels are on the playoff bubble with the Boston Red Sox (55-47), Yankees (54-58), Mariners (52-50), and Cleveland Guardians (51-51).
The Angels have a 16.7% chance to qualify for the playoffs, according to a projection by FanGraphs. They have only a 1.0% chance to win the World Series, and a 4.2% chance to win the AL West.
Bookies don't have faith that the Angels will make the playoffs. They are +700 odds to lock up a postseason berth, according to a prop bet by DraftKings. They are -1000 odds to miss the playoffs.
The Angels are a long shot to win the 2023 World Series at +15000 odds. The Angels are +6500 odds to win the AL pennant. They last won the pennant in 2002, the same season they won their only World Series.
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