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What Shohei Ohtani's record-setting contract means for Angels trade rumors

Fansided 10/1/2022 Mark Powell
© Provided by Fansided

Shohei Ohtani and the Angels avoided arbitration with a record-setting one year deal, but what does it mean about potential trade rumors?

Ohtani is arguably the greatest asset in all of baseball, if not professional sports. He plays on both sides of the ball, and can act as a pitcher, designated hitter or even an outfielder if called upon.

With that in mind, Ohtani needed to be paid as such. The two-way player made just over $5 million last season. He'll get a near-$25 million raise heading into 2023.

Per Ken Rosenthal, Ohtani's arbitration-avoiding deal sets an MLB record, previously held by Mookie Betts.

Angels: What does Shohei Ohtani contract mean for trade rumors?

The Angels did receive calls on Ohtani near the trade deadline, but promptly hung up when they didn't hear anything they liked.

This offseason, Ohtani's name could be mentioned in some trade talks, especially given the precedent that was set in the Juan Soto deadline deal. Ohtani would fetch as much or more than Soto, as he's under 30 years old and is a nearly-unprecedented talent, minus anyone short of Babe Ruth.

Per Bob Nightengale, this deal shows that the Angels have no intention of trading Ohtani, at least not this offseason.

Ohtani initially signed a two-year, $8.5 million deal with Los Angeles in the 2019 offseason. The two-way star was coming off Tommy John surgery, so he wanted to guarantee some value for himself, even if it felt light at the time. MLB Trade Rumors summed up those negotiations quite well.

"At the time of that deal, Ohtani has pitched only 1 2/3 total innings over the 2019-20 seasons, due to a Tommy John surgery and then a flexor strain.  He was also coming off a mediocre year at the plate, hitting only .190/.291/.366 over 175 plate appearances during the pandemic-shortened 2020 season.  Though Ohtani was hardly the only player to struggle under the unusual circumstances of the 2020 campaign, there was speculation that his 2018 rookie season might have been his peak, and that Ohtani would be better served by choosing either hitting or pitching."

If Ohtani is unhappy with losing, then he can always demand a way out. Few players have such a voice, but the Angels would be forced to listen to arguably the best player in all of baseball. With a new owner coming in, who knows what the offseason plan will be?

An impressive offseason could smooth things over, but ultimately Ohtani's decision as to whether or not he wants to stay in Anaheim comes down to him, and no one else.

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