All eyes are on Shohei Ohtani leading up to the MLB trade deadline on August 1st.
The two-way superstar is in the final year of team control with the Angels, who he’s spent the first six years of his MLB career with. Unfortunately, Los Angeles has not found success during that time.
Ohtani is the odds-on favorite to win AL MVP – his second in the last three years – and seemingly every team should be interested in his services, whether it be via trade or free agency.
The Angels could still keep Ohtani, but either way it’ll be a huge decision for the Los Angeles front office.
Angels beat writer and author Jeff Fletcher explained why some Angels fans would prefer if the team traded Ohtani while appearing on the Audacy Original Podcast “Baseball Isn’t Boring” this week.
“Believe it or not, I think most Angels fans actually want them to trade Ohtani – at least from my Twitter perception,” Fletcher said (28:50 in player above). “It’s because they’re so frustrated with how the season has gone right now… They look at it like the world is ending and they just want to start over. They feel like ‘Why would Ohtani want to come back here? We stink.’ That’s basically the way they look at it.”
Ohtani chose to sign with the Angels ahead of the 2018 season and has found a home there. However, it could be time for the two sides to part ways.
A potential trade package for Ohtani would likely need to overwhelm the Angels, which is why some fans want to move him.
“I think a part of that is a lot of fans have unrealistic expectations on what they’re going to get back,” Fletcher continued. “They think ‘Oh, we’re going to get back a team’s top five prospects and a major-league number three starter who’s already pitched 150 innings in the big leagues’ or something like that. I think that’s a part of it…
“From a PR standpoint, I don’t think it would be a huge hit to trade Ohtani, depending what they get back.”
However, Fletcher knows that there is another section of the fanbase that will be upset if the Angels trade Ohtani.
“What I’m telling you is based on the feedback that I get, and those are from more hardcore fans. I think there are a huge number of – I’m not going to call them fans, but I’ll call them customers – that buy Angels tickets, buy Angels stuff, go the ballpark, don’t really know who’s pitching the next day," he said. "Those people are going to be really mad if Ohtani’s not there.
“I think that’s part of the calculation. Your real serious baseball fans vs. your customers. The serious baseball fans would probably understand. The customers probably would not.”