Shohei Ohtani’s 2023 season is over and, so too, might be his time with the Angels.
Ohtani ends his season with a .304 average, 44 home runs and 95 runs batted in while also earning a 3.14 earned run average as a pitcher in 23 starts, posting a 10-5 record with 167 strikeouts in 132 innings.
The 2021 MVP is a free agent following the season.
Per Yahoo Sports, reporters began to wonder about Ohtani’s future this season on Friday when they noticed his locker had been cleared out, with some items even being reported to have been thrown in the trash.
On Aug. 23, the team shut Ohtani down as a pitcher due to a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his pitching arm.
His oblique injury will shut him down as a batter, too, but don’t expect it to squash teams’ interest in him during free agency.
Even if he can’t pitch again until 2025, the two-way phenom is still among the most valuable players in baseball at the plate, where his 6.6 wins above replacement rank fourth in MLB.
That will be enough to garner him a huge contract this offseason, and it might not be with the Angels. Los Angeles hasn’t qualified for the postseason in Ohtani’s six seasons and will enter next season on a nine-year playoff drought.
His injuries are only a minor setback. No one should have any doubt that when he returns (perhaps in a different uniform), it will be at an MVP level. The Angels, meanwhile, are going to nurse their injuries for much longer.