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The Los Angeles Angels will not trade two-way superstar Shohei Ohtani this offseason, GM Perry Minasian told reporters Monday night (via The Athletic). Ohtani signed a one-year, $30 million contract recently that covers his final year of arbitration-eligibility. The 2021 AL MVP is set to become a free agent after next season.

“I have to say that August and September in particular felt longer to me than last year,” Ohtani said last month. “We were not able to play as many good games as we would like — including 14 consecutive losses. So I have a rather negative impression of this season.”

The Angels went 73-89 this past season and missed the postseason, and that’s even after starting 27-17. They went 46-72 in their final 118 games, a .390 winning percentage that was the fourth worst in baseball during that time. Despite having Ohtani and Mike Trout, the Angels have not been to the postseason since 2014. It is the longest postseason drought in baseball.

Owner Arte Moreno put the Angels up for sale earlier this year and Ohtani makes the franchise more attractive. In addition to being a great player, he is a premier draw and one of the sport’s most marketable players. It makes business and baseball sense to hang onto Ohtani and let the next owner decide whether to trade him, or attempt to sign him to a long-term deal. 

Ohtani has made it no secret he wants to win, and seeing how the Angels have not played a since postseason game since he came over to MLB in 2018, it’s not hard to think he’ll sign elsewhere as a free agent next offseason. The Angels can always open 2023 with Ohtani, see how things go, then decide whether to trade him at the deadline.

At least according to WAR, the 28-year-old Ohtani was better in 2022 (9.6 WAR) than he was in 2021 (9.0 WAR), when he won AL MVP honors. He did not hit as well, though he was much better on the mound. Ohtani threw 166 innings with a 2.38 ERA and 219 strikeouts in 2022. He also hit .273/.356/.519 with 34 home runs.

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