The biggest question regarding the 2023 MLB trade deadline has been centered around if the Los Angeles Angels would become buyers or sellers, which would have made Shohei Ohtani the best available player if the club decided to rebuild.
Ohtani is set to become a free agent after the season and the belief around the league is he’s unlikely to re-sign with the Angels, backed by multiple comments the two-way superstar has made about his desire to win. Although the Angels are only four games out of a Wild Card spot, they face tough competition ahead of them and have a roughly 16% chance to make the postseason.
The Los Angeles Dodgers are one of the many teams who have been linked to Ohtani, both as a potential trade partner and in free agency, but there no longer appears to be a chance at acquiring him this season. According to Tom Verducci of Sports Illustrated, the Angels stopped fielding Ohtani trade offers and will hold onto him for the remainder of the season:
Shohei Ohtani is off the trade market. After fielding various trade offers for Ohtani and holding internal discussions the past two days, the Angels decided late Wednesday afternoon not only to hold Ohtani but also to be buyers in advance of the Aug. 1 trade deadline, according to a source familiar with the club’s decision.
The Angels have been in a tough position this year. The season represents their last chance to convince Ohtani to sign a long-term contract, and with him likely moving on at the end of the year, it may have been best for their franchise to acquire a haul of prospects as L.A. has one of the worst farm systems in baseball.
On the other hand, trading a player like Ohtani is unprecedented because there has never been another like him, and the return would likely never be enough. It would also represent a complete organizational failure to have Ohtani and Mike Trout together for six seasons and never make the playoffs in any of them.
By keeping Ohtani, the Angels get at least one more chance to play October baseball. They are also set to get back Trout from an injury this season, along with Brandon Drury and Logan O’Hoppe, who are both key pieces that have missed significant time.
In addition, the Angels made the first big splash of the trade deadline by acquiring Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo López from the Chicago White Sox. Both were potential targets for the Dodgers.
So as the Angels decide to hold onto Ohtani for the remainder of the season, discussions about his future home will be on hold until the offseason.
Mookie Betts made Shohei Ohtani recruiting pitch
Based on their recent history and geographical location, the Dodgers are considered a strong favorite to sign Ohtani if he becomes a free agent in four months, and many around the league consider them to be the outright favorites.
During 2023 MLB All-Star Week in Seattle, Mookie Betts made an early Dodgers recruiting pitch for Ohtani in the hopes of landing the American League MVP frontrunner.
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