Videos by OutKick
Angels two-way phenom Shohei Ohtani was superb on Sunday night, going seven innings with 10 punchouts in a 5-1 loss against the Mariners. Ohtani, however, has people talking about his comments after the game.
“I really like the team,” Ohtani said through his interpreter. “I love the fans, I love the atmosphere of the team, but more than that, I want to win. That’s the biggest thing for me. I’ll leave it at that.”
Winning is something that is very important to the 27-year-old from Japan, but it’s been a long time since the Angels have done that. Their last playoff appearance was in 2014, their only appearance in the last 12 years. That’s while having outfielder Mike Trout, the best player in baseball for a decade, on the roster. But it’s not like the Angels haven’t tried. They have spent a ton of money on key free agents over the years, but none have contributed to wins.
- 1B Albert Pujols- Signed 10-year, $210 million in 2012
- OF Josh Hamilton- Signed five-year, $125 million in 2013
- 3B Anthony Rendon- Signed seven-year, $245 million in 2019
Those three players went from All-Stars to walking mediocrities, and the Angels are now in danger of losing their top prize. Ohtani is arguably the frontrunner for the AL MVP and for good reason. Ohtani is slugging .258 with 45 HRs and 98 RBIs while pitching to a 9-2 record with a 3.18 ERA and 156 Ks. Ohtani is also one of the faces of baseball, and he’s appointment television when he takes the field.
The Angels and manager Joe Maddon know that, and they are frustrated with the lack of winning. The Angels sit fourth in the NL West (74-82), 17 games out of first place.
“This can’t continue to go on,” Maddon told reporters before Wednesday’s game. “We can’t annually be in this position. This organization is better than that. We deserve better than that. We have to go out and earn it.”
They do and it starts with developing/acquiring more starting pitching. Ohtani is the ace, but having one reliable guy isn’t going to cut it. Alex Cobb, Dylan Bundy and Griffin Canning have proven to not be suitable guys behind Ohtani, contributing to a team ERA of 4.71, 12th in the American League.
The starting pitching market in the offseason will be deep, something the Angels will surely look at. That class includes Max Scherzer, Robbie Ray and Justin Verlander among others. At this point, the team needs to make the playoffs next year to ensure Ohtani stays and that he won’t be as disappointed as he is this season.
“It’s very frustrating, very disappointing,” Ohtani said. “I always look forward to being in the playoff race at the end and trying to talk about the playoffs with my teammates. I always think about it, so, yeah, it’s been disappointing.”