Shohei “Idoryu” Ohtani, 29, is parting ways with the Los Angeles Angels after six years in Major League Baseball (MLB). Fans are preparing to send him off in tears.
Japanese media outlet News Post Seven reported on Sunday that “Otani is likely to leave the team after the season ends. Many fans are still wearing his jersey, and one fan thanked him with tears in his eyes.”
On July 17, the Angels announced that “Ohtani has been placed on the 10-day disabled list (IL) with a side strain and is expected to miss the remainder of the 2023 season.” Ohtani had been bothered by a sore right side in September, which ultimately sidelined him for the rest of the season.
After showing signs of fatigue in August, Ohtani took the mound for the first game of a doubleheader against the Cincinnati Reds on Sept. 24, but was pulled after just 1⅓ innings with elbow soreness. The Angels announced after the second game of the doubleheader that “Ohtani has suffered a torn medial collateral ligament (UCL) in his right elbow and will not pitch for the remainder of the season.”
In addition, in early September, he felt pain in his right side during batting practice, and after appearing as the No. 2 designated hitter against Oakland on April 4 (0-for-3 with two strikeouts), he was sidelined for 11 games. He didn’t even come off the bench once. On April 12 against Seattle, he made a surprise appearance in the lineup as the No. 2 designated hitter, but the Angels soon revised the roster and removed Ohtani’s name. He became a “ghost player” on the roster and was eventually placed on the disabled list.
Ohtani finished the year with a .304 batting average, 44 home runs, 95 RBIs, 102 runs scored, 20 doubles, and a 1.066 OPS in 135 games as a hitter, and a 10-5 record with a 3.14 ERA in 23 games and 167 strikeouts in 132 innings as a pitcher. As of April 18, Ohtani ranks first in Wins Above Replacement (WAR) according to both FanGraphs and Baseball Reference. He leads Baseball Reference (10.1) by a wide margin over second-place Mookie Betts (LA Dodgers, 8.0), and leads Fangraphs (8.9) over Betts (8.1). At this rate, he could win the American League MVP for the second time in two years after 2021.
With such a stellar performance, it’s becoming increasingly likely that Ohtani will be looking for a new home. Ohtani, who becomes a free agent after this season, was once expected to become the first major leaguer to sign a contract totaling $500 million. Injuries have reduced his value somewhat, but the general consensus is that he’ll still get around $300 million (KRW 397.9 billion).
However, the Angels are unlikely to be the team to sign him. Ohtani has been unhappy with the team’s underperformance. After winning the American League West in 2014, the Angels missed the playoffs for eight straight years until last year. The same has been true since 2018, when Ohtani joined the team. In 2021, Ohtani expressed his frustration, saying, “The team atmosphere is good, but the desire to win is stronger.”
This year is no different. The Angels have a season record of 68 wins, 82 losses, and a .453 winning percentage through 18 games. At 14.5 games out of first place in the division, the Angels are already guaranteed to miss the postseason. Instead of trading Ohtani during the season, the Angels tried to “win now” by bringing in Lucas Giolito and others, but ultimately gave up on the season when they released Giolito after a month.
When the team’s responsibility for Ohtani’s injury was recently questioned, Angels general manager Perry Minasian told MLB.com, “After the Aug. 4 game in Seattle, the club offered to do a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), but the player declined.” The Angels, along with his teammates, also took the blame. His contract with the Angels will likely end up being six years.
“As if to say goodbye, even at games where Ohtani did not appear, many fans came to the ballpark and wore jerseys with Ohtani’s number 17 on them,” News Post Seven reported. Fans are already mentally preparing for the farewell.메이저사이트
One fan told local media in the U.S., “He can rest now. We wish him success in the future, even if he leaves the team.” The fan then turned to Ohtani and said, “I’ve had enough fun already. Thank you, Shohei,” the fan said in tears as he said goodbye. Ohtani has made a lasting impression on Angels fans over the past six years.
Even in the prime of Mike Trout (32), the best player in franchise history, a three-time MVP, the Angels made just one postseason appearance (2014). That hasn’t changed now, when Ohtani is at his best. The Angels are wasting the prime years of their two star players.