The locker has been cleaned out and the next order of business for Shohei Ohtani will be undergoing surgery on his ailing right arm.
After that? Preparing for free agency, where Ohtani is expected to command a historic contract.
If the Los Angeles Angels are unable to retain their two-way megastar, the crosstown Dodgers long have been the favorite to sign Ohtani. That remains the case, with SportsBetting.ag offering them at +250 following the news that Ohtani has been shut down for the season.
However, a new team has shot into the No. 2 spot. The Chicago Cubs opened as the second favorite at +500 six months ago, but have now slipped to +2500 longshots.
The second-shortest odds now belong to the Seattle Mariners, who have moved from +3300 to +350. Next is the San Francisco Giants, whose odds have shortened from +2000 six months ago to +450.
SHOHEI OHTANI NEXT TEAM ODDS*
Los Angeles Dodgers (+250)
Seattle Mariners (+350)
San Francisco Giants (+450)
San Diego Padres (+650)
New York Yankees (+750)
Philadelphia Phillies (+850)
New York Mets (+900)
Texas Rangers (+1000)
Atlanta Braves (+1400)
St. Louis Cardinals (+1600)
Toronto Blue Jays (+1800)
Cincinnati Reds (+2000)
Chicago Cubs (+2500)
Boston Red Sox (+2800)
Arizona Diamondbacks (+3300)
Houston Astros (+3300)
Cleveland Guardians (+4000)
Miami Marlins (+4000)
Colorado Rockies (+5000)
Detroit Tigers (+5000)
Minnesota Twins (+5000)
Milwaukee Brewers (+6600)
Tampa Bay Rays (+6600)
Washington Nationals (+6600)
Baltimore Orioles (+8000)
Chicago White Sox (+8000)
Kansas City Royals (+8000)
Pittsburgh Pirates (+8000)
Oakland Athletics (+10000)
*If Ohtani leaves the Angels
The Angels announced Saturday that Ohtani was put on the 15-day injured list with an oblique injury and would sit out the rest of 2023.
Ohtani missed 11 straight games with a right oblique injury, and after Friday night’s loss to the Detroit Tigers, his locker at Angel Stadium was empty and had a packed bag in front of it.
The pending free agent could have played his final game in an Angels uniform, although the Angels remain confident they can re-sign Ohtani.
“Shohei is one of a kind, a great player, great person,” Angels general manager Perry Minasian said Saturday. “Anybody that knows him, has a chance to talk to him, has been around him, he’s a team guy. He’s a pretty special guy, special player. It’s been a pleasure to have a chance to get to know him and hopefully he is here for a long time.”
Minasian said Ohtani intends to remain with the team through the end of the season.
The 2021 American League MVP, Ohtani hasn’t played since Sept. 3 because of his oblique and last pitched Aug. 23. After that latter outing, he was diagnosed with a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his first pitching elbow.
“(Friday) he had an MRI (on) his oblique,” Minasian said. “Still some irritation in that area, a small irritation in that area. So we talked to the doctors and decided to shut it down for the season. We got the results back in the first (or) second inning of the game. I think for him, it went right into the (elbow) surgery part. The procedure mode.”
Still unknown is whether Ohtani will have Tommy John surgery, or a different procedure on his elbow. But he will have what Minasian is calling a “procedure” at some point soon.
Despite the injury, Ohtani continued to play as the Angels’ designated hitter. He sustained the oblique injury during batting practice on Sept. 4.
Ohtani leads the American League in home runs with 44, and he also has a league-leading 91 walks and is tied for the league lead with eight triples. He has added 95 RBIs and 20 stolen bases while batting .304.
He is in the top two in the major leagues with a 1.066 OPS and .654 slugging percentage.
In 23 games as a starting pitcher, he is 10-5 with a 3.14 ERA, striking out 167 batters in 132 innings.
Despite his upcoming free agency, the Angels decided not to trade Ohtani before the Aug. 1 deadline. In an attempt to make the playoffs for the first time since 2014, and to show Ohtani their commitment to winning, the team made a series of deals that didn’t produce the desired results. The Angels are 12-29 since the deadline and out of the postseason race.
“Not everything works the way you plan it to work,” Minasian said. “It’s easy to say it now, but at the time with where we were in the standings, with how we were playing, we felt like the right decision to make and I wouldn’t change it.”
It remains to be seen what Ohtani will earn in his first venture into free agency this winter. Before the elbow injury, analysts predicted he’d be baseball’s first $600 million player.
–Field Level Media
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